It’s that time of year again – apple season! There is an abundance of apples this time of year, especially in Central New York. We are surrounded by apple farms and overwhelmed with the different varieties. Apples have an endless amount of health benefits – it’s no lie that eating an apple-a-day really will help keep the doctor away.
Aside from being tasty, apples make a perfect snack. One of the many reasons is that they are loaded with fiber; one medium apple has about four grams of fiber and only 95 calories. They are also packed with vitamin C, and with cold season in full swing, our immune systems can use this extra boost.
Kerri-Ann Jennings, a registered dietitian, says that apples are great for weight-loss. They fill you up but have very few calories, making them a wise investment in your diet. Another benefit is heart health. According to a study done at Florida State University, people who eat apples often have a lower risk of a stroke than those who don’t consume apples regularly. The heart-healthy factors found in apples come from their antioxidants and soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol.
Apples are known for being energy-boosting, too, making them the perfect “pick-me-up” when you are feeling drained and sluggish. Next time you are in need of some extra energy, try reaching for an apple instead of a latte. They also keep your endurance level up during a workout, making them the perfect pre-exercise snack. According to Jennings, this energy-boosting quality found in apples is due to the high amount of the antioxidant quercetin, which aids in delivering oxygen to the lungs.
Bored of eating an apple on its own? Here are some fun apple recipes that are delicious and nutritious:
- Baked Apples: an easy way to bake an apple is to simply core or slice it, then bake it at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. You can then add whatever you desire – honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, nuts, dried cherries or cranberries, and sprinkle on some cinnamon, nutmeg or brown sugar. (serves one, fitsugar.com)
- Apple Sundae: in a small bowl mix together 2 tablespoons of almond butter, ¼ cup maple syrup (can substitute agave nectar or honey), and 1 ½ teaspoons of almond extract. Core two apples and cut them into quarters. Then, cut the quarters into three lengthwise and ¼ – inch pieces crosswise. Place in two serving bowls and drizzle sauce on top. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds and 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut. (serves two, whfoods.org)
- Maple-Cinnamon Applesauce: Peel and cut six Macintosh or other tart apples into 1-inch pieces. Peel and cut 2 Golden Delicious or other sweet apple into 1-inch pieces. Combine the apple pieces with ¼ cup water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the apples are soft and falling apart, about 30 minutes. Mash up the apples to your desired consistency and stir in 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup and ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon. (eatingwell.com)
By Emily Borgeest