The Amazing Health Benefits of ApplesIt’s the start of September and I’m starting to look forward to Autumn. I love the warmth of summer, but there’s something about the slightly cooler temperatures and watching the leaves around our countryside village turn colour.

Of course it is also time for all of my favourite autumn treats. Lots of delicious fruits and vegetables start to ripen and get ready in early September. Let me tell you, it isn’t just about all things pumpkin (although you should really check out my Healthy Pumpkin Soup Recipe). It’s also about apples.

Apples are one of my favourite fruits. They are versatile, portable, inexpensive, and unlike a lot of other fruit, they store really well. They also have quite a few surprising health benefits. There’s good reason why we have the saying: An Apple a Day Keeps The Doctor Away.

Let’s look at some of the ways you and your family could benefit from eating apples regularly.

Apples Can Help You Lose Weight Safely

apple-norms-size-standardsApples make for a great snack. This humble little fruit is packed full of fibre and includes a lot of water for hydration (which makes it great for lunchboxes). Both of these help you stay fuller longer.

Try this quick weight loss tip: Twenty minutes before you sit down for one of your main meals, eat a small to medium sized apple. Leave the skin on to make sure you get the maximum amount of fibre and all the nutrition just below!

By eating the apple before your main meal and leaving a little time in between the two, you’re starting to fill your stomach with a healthy food and you’re giving your body time to realise that there’s food in your stomach. By the time you’re ready to sit down for your main meal, you’re not nearly as hungry as you were twenty minutes ago. This is important because it will keep you from overeating and gives you the will power to stop eating when you’re satisfied.

All in all, you end up eating a lot less. And since that apple was packed with lots of water and fibre, it will help keep you full longer. Plus it’s one of the fruits that’s lowest in fruit sugar… so I always recommend them as part of a healthy eating programme. Win!

 

Apples Can Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease

The fibre in apples is soluble fibre. This is a great substance that mat help lower cholesterol, by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria in your bowel.  It works the same way that a bowl of porridge oats you have for breakfast. In fact, try adding some finely chopped apple to your breakfast for added sweetness!  Do also try to keep the skin – there’s lots of the amazing apple pectin fibre right under the skin.  This amazing soluble fibre is so good for us and for helping to keep our bowels regular and to help support the growth of the good guys in your gut.  Supplement companies are even bottling up apple pectin because it’s so good for us!

 

Apples May Be One Key for Reducing Your Risk For Diabetes

People who eat apples on a regular basis, have a lower risk for developing diabetes. Part of that is due to the fact that the fibre in apples keeps us full longer.  The phytonutrients, antioxidants and other nutrients in apples all seem to have a positive effect on our body and how it processes food.

Apples Boost your Immune System

Going back to school means exposure to all sort of bugs and germs. Help your kids to avoid an early season cold by adding apples to their daily diet. Apples are packed with vitamin C which helps boost the immune system and fight off infection. That’s why you’re told to take vitamin C or drink orange juice when you feel a cold coming on. As it turns out, apples are vitamin C power houses. Eat one per day during cold and flu season to give your immune system that extra little boost.

The soluble fibre in apples also helps to support a healthy gut and good levels of gut bacteria, which are also important for your immune strength. During the colder months, I love giving me and the kids stewed apples for breakfast, with lots of cinnamon for blood sugar support, and some plain yoghurt and almonds on top for added protein.  Stewed apples have been tested in research for their effects on beneficial gut bacteria… just a few weeks of stewed apples can help to support a healthier balance of gut bacteria.

 

Apples Could Reduce Risks for Certain Cancers

Some research shows that apples may even help prevent some types of cancer. That’s pretty amazing for one little humble fruit. Apples like many other fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants. Those little compounds attach themselves and neutralize cancer causing free radicals. The soluble fibre in apples also helps to keep your digestive system healthy and support levels of beneficial bacteria, which may help to reduce your risk of colon and other cancers.

If eating fresh apples day after day gets a little boring, there are plenty of ways to use this lovely fruit. Try…

  • Adding some apple to a smoothie
  • Grating apple onto your morning breakfast cereal or into your porridge
  • Adding chopped apple to your lunchtime salad, or for dipping into hummus
  • Stew or bake apples for a delicious and comforting dessert or tasty breakfast
  • Use apples to make crumbles or to add sweetness to cakes – there’s nothing better than a delicious Apple Crumble or apple cake in the oven to fill your house with delicious smells.  You can find one of my favourite low sugar apple cake recipes here

 

Recipe: Healthy Home-made Apple Sauce

Ingredients

  • 8 medium apples
  • 350ml of water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg or vanilla or mixed spice (all optional, all delicious)

Method

Start by washing, peeling and coring your apples. Chop them into bite-sized chunks and add them to a large saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.

Bring the apple mixture to a simmer and cook covered on medium heat until the apples are soft. This should take about 15 minutes depending on the size of your chunks and the apple variety.

If you like your sauce rustic and lumpy, mash it into apple sauce with a potato masher or a fork. If you prefer smooth apple sauce, simply blend the mixture for a few seconds until it reaches the desired consistency.

Like this? Take a look at: 3 Delicious ways to Cook with Apples 

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The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) The Award Winning Orange Grove Clinic Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council Spire Healthcare