To get caught up on the series, check out the previous health and flavor boosters that you can explore...
Now let's take a closer look at the health benefits of apples, along with tasty ways to prepare this amazing fruit. Be sure to read the whole thing -- there's a free handout hiding at the bottom of the post.
Today's Featured Flavor: Apples
Did you know that apple trees were one of the first trees to be cultivated? It appears that the apples we know today come from ancestors that originated in Asia before spreading to Europe. From there, apples were brought to North America by colonists during the 1600s. In fact, the only kind of apple that is native to the U.S. is the crabapple. Now apples are grown in all 50 states and more than 7,500 different types of apples are growing around the world.
With all this variety, it's easy to explore different types of apples until you find a few favorites. Whether it's tart Granny Smiths, crisp Fujis, or exotic Macouns, there's an apple out there for everybody.
Apples and Your Health:
The saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" didn't come out of thin air. Apples actually have a bunch of proven health benefits.
Apples are fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free, which means that they lack a bunch of the elements that are bad for your heart. They're also rich in fiber, which is key to a healthful diet. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most people don't get enough fiber every day. Plus, apples are rich in vitamin C, which in turn supports your immune system.
According to the paper Apple Phytochemicals and Their Health Benefits, "Apples are a widely consumed, rich source of phytochemicals, and epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes." The authors continue "Apples contain a variety of phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, all of which are strong antioxidants."
In other words, apples are just plain good for you.
Apples as Flavor Boosters:
Apples are great at boosting the flavor of any dish, whether you're adding a few slices to a pitcher of water for a refreshing, calorie-free drink or sautéing them with cinnamon for a healthful fruit topping.
Apples are sweet, tart, and bursting with flavor.
They can be used in both savory and sweet recipes, and no matter how you use them, they are sure to make the dish taste delicious.
Our recipe database has over 130 free recipes that feature apples. Some of our favorites include...
- Apple Broccoli Waldorf Salad
- Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- Apple Cobbler
- Apple Oat Bake
- Apple Rice Stuffing
- Apple Slaw
- Apple Strudel
- Apple Yogurt Snack Plate
- Asian Cabbage Salad
- Autumn Pasta Salad
- Cherry Apple Skillet Pie
- Cinnamon Apples
- Collard Salad with Apples
- Deep Dish Apple Rhubarb Pie
- Dessert Pizza
- Love Apples
- Pumpkin Apple Butter
- Raspberry Apple Sauce
- Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples and Cherries
- Whole Grain Apple Pie Bread
All of these recipes are tasty, healthful, and easy to make. Which ones will you try first?
For more great nutrition education resources, check out the Nutrition Education Store. Our top-selling products this week include...
Did you think we forgot about that free handout? Don't worry -- we'd never let you down! Download your copy of the Apple Cinnamon Muffin recipe handout today.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.