Your mother was right.
An apple a day might actually help keep the doctor away.
Ask the RD: Why are apples in general considered to be such a powerful fruit?
reboot with apples
The content of phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing:
- cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease
1. Nutrient packed
- Apples pack in quite a bit of soluble fiber (4 grams per medium apple containing about 12% of you daily needs) for a modest amount of calories (95). Fiber aids in digestion/gut health, weight loss, heart health, and decreases inflammation.
- Plus, your well on your way to meet your daily fruit quota with a medium apple counting as 1 cup of fruit (around 2 cups of fruit is recommended for adults on a 2,000-calorie diet).
- Apples are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C (providing 14% of the Daily Value). Even though there’s only 5 milligrams of vitamin C in a small apple, it has the antioxidant equivalent of 1,500 milligrams of vitamin C. Taking that much vitamin C in a supplemental pill form might actually have a pro-oxidant effect, and cause DNA damage. But nature has packaged whole foods perfectly, you can get three times the antioxidant power eating just a single apple, without the adverse effects.
2. weight loss
Part of what makes an apple the ultimate healthy snack is in the ease with which you can eat it! The only thing between you and digging in is basically a careful wash (and don't forget to remove that sticker... I've done that one too many times). With apples high fiber content, this is what makes apples to be such a filling, sweet snack. They are super easy to add into your diet and a low calorie option to help satisfy hunger, promoting weight loss.
3. Anti-Cancer Properties
We know the more apples we eat, the lower our risk is for several cancers.
Results from clinical studies show that the phytochemicals (polyphenols, triterpenoids) and dietary fiber present in apples have been associated with cancer preventive mechanisms in in vitro studies. An interesting study looked at the effect of phytonutrients from apples on the growth of colon cancer and liver cancer cells in a test tube. They found that cancer cell growth was inhibited by phytonutrients from apples, with just two-thirds of a medium apple providing the same level of antioxidant activity as 1,500 mg of vitamin C. Since apples contain about 12 mg of vitamin C, researchers attributed the combination of nutrients in apples as being key to their positive activity.
4. heart health
Iowa Women’s Health Study reported that, among the 34,000-plus women the study tracked for nearly 20 years, apples were associated with a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Another study from Finnish researchers collected over 28 years of data from 9,208 men and women and found that frequent apple eaters had the lowest risk of suffering strokes compared with non-apple eaters. Experts attribute the heart-healthy benefits to antioxidant compounds found in apples, which help prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and inhibit inflammation. Plus, the soluble fiber in apples has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels.
5. decreases inflammatory markers
Antioxidants counteract chemicals in the blood that oxidize, or damage, certain molecules. Flavonoids are the most common group of phytonutrients in foods and apples are particularly high in one of the flavonoids called quercetin, which has high antioxidant activity, particularly beneficial for lung health.
Researchers who analyzed National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) data, a survey of eating and health habits, found that people who had eaten apples in any form over the past day were 27% less likely to have symptoms of metabolic syndrome (increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels) than those who didn’t. The apple eaters also had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation whose presence in the blood suggests an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.
RD TIP: keep the skin on
Apples themselves are great. But, it’s not because of the juice in them, but rather, primarily what’s found in the apple peel! The peels are the really nutrient dense, high fibrous, part of the fruit, yet are often discard it!
- A medium apple with the skin contains 4.4 grams of fiber. Without the skin, you’re only getting 2.1 grams, not even enough to qualify it as a “good source of fiber”
- You get additional 23% vitamin C when eating the peel.
- Also, the compound responsible for improved lung function, called quercetin, is — you guessed it — mostly found in the peel!
Try to find creative ways to eat the whole fruit (the perfect go-to snack in my opinion!) and spiralizing them into dishes, like my Apple Chicken Pecan Salad (found below), is a great way! When you spiralize apples, you keep the peel on and get all of those added health benefits and little food waste!
spiralized apple Pecan chicken salad
Recipe By Dietitian: Taylor Johnson, RD, LDN
Recipe Type: lunch
Dietary restrictions this recipe meets: Gluten Free, Paleo
Dietary Substitutions: Omit the chicken to make this recipe vegetarian and omit the goat cheese to make it vegan and dairy free
- Pan grill, boil or use an organic rotisserie chicken. Set chicken aside to cool for 15 minutes before chopping into small pieces.
- While chicken cools, remove the core of the apples, keep skin on, and spiralize the apples into noddles (if you don't have a spiralizer, cut the apple into thin matchsticks). Toss the noodles in freshly squeezed lemon juice in a large bowl to prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown.
- Add in the remaining salad ingredients and toss with lemon poppy seed dressing. Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to an hour. Reboot + enjoy!
For the dressing:
- Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together to incorporate. Pour dressing into a jar and store in the refrigerator. Shake well before using on the salad. Reboot + enjoy!
- 3/4 cup organic chicken breast, grilled, chopped
- 1 large granny smith apple, spiralized
- 1 medium red apple, spiralized
- 1/2 cup unsweetened whole cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 crumbled goat cheese (can sub for feta)
- Salt + pepper to taste
Lemon Poppyseed Dressing:
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2-3 large lemons)
- 2 tbsp. pure honey
- 1/3 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. poppy seeds
- dash of salt
XO - ROOTS REBOOT
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