Several new studies show that an apple a day can help keep body fat, high cholesterol and diabetes away.
Fall is apple season, and with all the delicious varieties to choose from, it’s a great time to go apple picking or buy some at your local farmer’s market.
Apples are nutritional all-stars: A medium apple has just 80 calories, 4 grams fiber and is a good source of potassium and vitamin C. Recent studies show that apples contain a wide array of polyphenols—natural compounds that provide numerous health benefits, from reducing inflammation to providing positive changes to metabolism.
Some polyphenols have also been shown to help improve muscle mass while aiding in the breakdown of fat. The soluble fiber in apples not only helps to keep you fuller longer, it helps shuttle the harmful cholesterol out of your body. The nutrients in apples are concentrated the peel, so be sure to eat the skin too.
Research shows that women who included dried apples in their diet helped them lose weight and lower their harmful LDL-cholesterol levels. Other population-based studies and some clinical studies prove that eating apples helps significantly lower harmful LDL-cholesterol levels to reduce your risk for heart disease while others prove that apples help prevent metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
I enjoy eating an apple almost every day this time of year. Eating one before your lunch and dinner is a great way to help you curb calories at your main meals. If you’re eating an apple as a snack, try one of my favorites: Sliced apples with peanut butter and a sprinkle of granola and some chocolate chips or raisins.
Baked apples are a wonderful healthy dessert that is also perfect this time of year. Here are two really simple recipes for baked apples: Baked Apples with Dried fruit and Baked Apples with Oats, Maple Syrup and Cinnamon.
Choosing & Storing Apples
There are more than 2,500 different varieties of apples grown in the U.S. Choose firm, shiny, smooth-skinned apples with intact stems. They should smell fresh, not musty. Refrigerate apples in plastic bag away from strong-odored foods; use within 3 weeks.
–Julie Upton, MS, RD