While mum might not have talked to you about “superfoods” when you were a kid, chances are she shared with you the old adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. But how relevant is it?
In today’s world, where terms such as ‘power sources’, ‘powerfoods’ and ‘superfoods’ are thrown around on a daily basis, the emphasis has switched from apples to foods such as blueberries, kale, chia seeds and quinoa. The notion that apples keep the doctor away may not be talked about so much, but according to many health experts the proverb is still very true.
The health benefits of apples
Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants and flavanoids, as well as filled with soluble fiber. Nutrients include:
- Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant capable of blocking some of the damage caused by free radicals and help fight against infectious disease.
- B-complex vitamins – needed for maintaining red blood cells and keeping the nervous system in good health.
- Dietary fibre – helps to prevent bad cholesterol in your blood from rising.
- Calcium – helps promote strong bones, reduce PMS symptoms and combat cancer.
- Potassium – needed to keep a healthy heart.
Apples deserve to be classed as ‘superfoods’ because they:
- Control insulin levels by releasing sugar slowly into the bloodstream.
- Cleanse and detoxify.
- Help eliminate heavy metals, such as lead and mercury.
- Reduce cholesterol levels.
- Help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
- Reduce skin diseases.
- Help you lose weight.
- Promote heart health.
- Lower respiratory diseases, such as asthma.
- Quench thirst.
- Lubricate the lungs.
- Decrease mucus.
- Increase body fluids.
- Strengthen overall sexual function, and help produce higher levels of arousal and satisfaction.
- Reduce intestinal disorders, such as diverticulitis, haemorrhoids and cancer
- Improve neurological health
How to get the most from your apples
Most of the fibre and antioxidants are in the peel of the apple, therefore to benefit from the many nutrients apples offer you should keep the skin on. It is also wise to purchase organic apples as often as possible, as apples have been found to be one of the most heavily pesticide-contaminated produce products. Not only that, non-organic apples are often waxed, which is not digestible. If you choose not to buy organic, wash your apples thoroughly before consuming.
Apples, like wine and chocolate, contain polyphenols and antioxidants that stimulate blood flow to genitalia, helping with arousal. Eating an apple a day can help with the level of lubrication and sexual function, and snacking on an apple before sex can improve stimulation.
The only time apples aren’t great for you is when you’re pregnant, and that’s only if you plan on eating the seeds. Apple seeds are toxic when eaten in high doses, and can be dangerous for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and young children.
Ideas for including more apples in your diet
Apples are hugely versatile, meaning there are hundreds of ways to introduce apples more frequently into your diet.
Healthy apple recipes include:
Roasted Apple and Cheddar Salad
- 3 tblsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tblsp apple juice
- 1 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tblsp honey
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- pinch salt and pepper
- 2 Fuji apples cut into wedges
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 3 cups torn lettuce
- 2 cups rocket
- 2/3 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Roast apples with oil and thyme for 30 minutes, turning once. Discard thyme and cool, while toasting walnuts. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with dressing immediately before serving.
Baked Apple and Cinnamon French Toast
- 3 cups non fat milk
- 6 egg whites
- 3 tblsp honey
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Loaf of sliced whole-wheat bread
- 1 cup chopped apples
- ½ cup raisons
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- Sprinkle of icing sugar
- Whisk ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Cut half the bread into 1-inch pieces and add.
- Lay remaining bread in a baking pan and then pour mix over top.
- Press bread down to ensure it’s covered.
- Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
- Bake in oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for further 20 minutes.