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The apple may be the most widely associated fruit when we think of the definition of 'health,' as the popular adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" suggests...Scientists from the University of Oxford (United Kingdom)1 employed a mathematical model to analyze the differences between prescribing a statin drug or recommending the consumption of one apple daily, on vascular diseases, in men and women ages 50 and older. The resulting data analysis revealed that recommending an apple a day to all adults ages 50 years and over may prevent or delay approximately 8,500 deaths due to heart attacks and strokes every year, in the United Kingdom alone.

When at the market, opt for organic apples..The Environmental Working Group warns in its 2019 report2 that "apples [are] doused with chemicals after harvest." Conventional apples are treated with a chemical to slow discoloration while the fruit is stored. Some studies suggest that this chemical may promote the formation of cancer-causing agents in the treated fruit. In 2014, the European Union (EU) barred the importation of treated apples, yet the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2018 stated that the treatment posed no unacceptable risk.

Nutrition In Nature's "To-Go" Packaging
Mother Nature packs vitamins and fiber into one medium apple (6.4 ounces)-a portable single-size serving!

Nutrition Facts3

Serving size: 1 medium apple, with skin (182g)

Amount Per Serving

Calories-100
Calories from Fat-0

Daily Value*

Total Fat-0g 0%
—Saturated Fat.0g 0%
—Trans Fat.0g.

Cholesterol-0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%

Total Carbohydrate.25g 8%
—Dietary Fiber.4g. 18%
—Sugars.19g.

Protein-0g
Vitamin A-2%
Vitamin C-14%
Calcium-2%
Iron-2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Washington State University (United States)4 scientists report that apples contain bioactive compounds that resist digestion and that arrive intact to the intestinal tract. They found that Granny Smith variety apples contain the highest concentrations of two specific types of antioxidants, as well as dietary fiber—all of which may help to promote "good bacteria" in the intestines and potentially moderate obesity.

Wageningen University (The Netherlands)5 scientists analyzed data collected on 774 men, ages 65 to 84 years at the study's start. Participants were followed for 25 years, and surveyed for their consumption of foods containing epicatechin-a flavanol with which anti-inflammatory effects are associated. The major dietary sources of epicatechin among the study subjects were tea (51 percent), apples (28 percent), and cocoa (7 percent). Data analysis revealed that the men who consumed the most epicatechin had a 38 percent lower risk of death from coronary heart disease. Additionally, coronary heart disease risk was found to be 46 percent lower in the men who already had cardiovascular disease at the study's start.

Apples are abundant in pectin-a complex carbohydrate and type of soluble fiber. University of Tehran (Iran)6 researchers found that pectic acid kills cancer cells, slows cancer cell growth, and affects several other cancer cell mechanisms, in a cell model and lab animal model of breast cancer.

Apple peel contains ursolic acid-a compound that exerts effects on skeletal muscle. A team including scientists at Tarbiat Modares University (Iran)7 suggests that foods abundant in ursolic acid may assist the body in offsetting aging-related muscle loss (sarcopenia).

Additionally, apple peel is an abundant source of triterpenoids, substances that influence the expression of IP- 10, a gene linked to inflammatory disorders (including irritable bowel disease). A team from the University of Kaiserslautern (Germany)8 used a cell model of colon cancer to find that apple peel triterpenoids exert anti-inflammatory effects.

Variety

Coloration

Flavor

Gala

Yellow-orange skin with red striping

Mild, sweet

Red Delicious

Red

Mild, slightly sweet

Fuji

Red

Sweet

Granny Smith

Green

Tart/sour

Honey Crisp

Yellow-orange skin with red mottling

Sweet-tart

Golden Delicious

Yellow-muted green

Mild, sweet

McIntosh

Red with hints of green

Sweet-tart

Braeburn

Red

Sweet-tart

Cortland

Bright red skin

Slightly tart

Empire

Red

Sweet-tart

Scientists from Fatih University (Turkey)9 report that how apples are grown, harvested, stored, and processed may affect their antioxidant capacity, as measured by the concentration of phenolic compounds contained. Green-skin apple varieties (specifically Granny Smith) pack more phenolics than red and golden-skin. The team also observed that apple peel contains higher levels of phenolics, and exerts a greater antioxidant capacity, than apple flesh.

Ways to Enjoy

  1. Sliced or cubed into salads—adds color, texture, and nutrition
  2. Wedges accompanied by cheese and crackers
  3. Chopped and added to your favorite recipe for side stuffing to a meat entrée

Ways we like to 'MAAKE' Apples

  1. As Apple Bake with Oat-Crumble Topping. Tasty apples accented with a hearty topping, this dish multitasks—serve for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert.
  2. In delicate and sweet Apple Pancakes. Not only a breakfast option, but these delicate and sweet pancakes are also suitable as an accompaniment to a dinner entrée of pork or chicken.

TIP: Depending on their juiciness and firmness, some apple varieties are better suited for cooking and baking. But your preferences as to texture and taste may differ from general descriptions. So experiment, and consider that a mix-and-match approach that uses several kinds of apples may yield a satisfying flavor result.

Storage & Handling

  • Store apples in the refrigerator. Apples naturally produce a harmless gas that accelerates their ripening process, so do not store them near delicate produce (such as leafy greens), and don't crowd them together. Apples stored at room temperature will become mushy.
  • Wash apples thoroughly in cool water, just before eating or preparing them.
  • Keep the skin on apples: apple skin contains a compound that may exert anti-inflammatory effects. Scientists from Fatih University (Turkey)10 report that apple peel contains higher levels of phenolics, an antioxidant compound, and exerts a greater antioxidant capacity, as compared to apple flesh.
  • To reduce the discoloration of cut apples: In a glass or ceramic bowl, combine one part lemon juice with three parts cool water, and stir to combine the mixture evenly. As you cut the apples, place the pieces into the juice-water mixture and let them stay there for 10-15 minutes. Then drain the cut apples (discard the juice-water mixture) and proceed to use the apple pieces.

Apple Bake—with Oat Crumble Topping Recipe

Apple Bake Recipe with Oat Crumble Toppin

6 servings

Tasty apples accented with a hearty topping, this dish multitasks— serve for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh raw apple (“Gala” variety works well)–6 qty. (approx. 2 lb.)
  • Lemon juice–2 TBSP
  • Old-fashioned oats–1 cup
  • All-purpose flour–1/4 cup
  • Unsalted butter–4 TBSP
  • Granulated white sugar–4 TBSP
  • Ground cinnamon–1/4 tsp
  • Ground nutmeg–1/4 tsp
  • Salt–1/4 tsp

Directions:

  1. Select an 8 x 8-inch x 2-inch deep oven-safe glass baking dish. Spray the bottom and all 4 inside sides with veg oil spray.
  2. In a bowl, use a pastry cutter to combine: oats, flour, butter, sugar-cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, until pea-size crumbles form.
  3. Select a 4-quart bowl; to it, add the lemon juice and 2 cups of cool water.
  4. Core each apple (keep the skin on), then cut each into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch cubes. Immediately place the cut apple pieces into the bowl of lemon juice-water (see step 3).
  5. After 15 minutes, use a colander to drain the apples (discard the soaking liquid). Transfer the drained apple pieces into a fresh dry bowl.
  6. Parcook the apples: Cover the bowl of apple pieces with a damp paper towel. Microwave (at 100% power) for 4 to 6 minutes, until the apple pieces are a bit softened (but not mushy).
  7. Transfer the par-cooked apples (but not any rendered liquid) to the prepared baking dish.
  8. Spread the prepared oat topping atop the apple pieces. Press the topping down firmly to ensure that is well-adhered to the apple pieces.
  9. Heat oven to 350°F. Position the rack in middle/center of oven.
  10. Bake uncovered for 35–40 minutes, or until the apple pieces render juices and the topping is a light golden brown.

Apple Pancakes Recipe

Apple Pancakes Recipe

Makes 12 x 2-inch rounds

Not only a breakfast option, these delicate and sweet pancakes are suitable as an accompaniment to a dinner entrée of pork or chicken.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh raw apple (“Gala” variety works well)–2 qty (to yield 2 cups grated)
  • Brown sugar–1/4 cup
  • Egg–One qty
  • All-purpose flour–1/2 cup
  • Baking powder –1 tsp
  • Salt–½ tsp
  • Ground cinnamon –¼ tsp
  • Cooking oil (plant-based unsaturated fat is preferable)–approx. 4 TBSP

Directions:

  1. On a box grater (on the side with the largest holes), grate the apples. Place into a bowl.
  2. To the bowl of shredded apples, add: the egg, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine the batter ingredients thoroughly and evenly.
  3. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Select a large, flat, heavy-bottomed skillet. Heat the skillet on a medium-high heat.
  5. Heat 1 TBSP cooking oil until it starts to shimmer in the skillet. To the hot oil, carefully add the batter by heaping TBSP. Do not overcrowd the skillet (overcrowding will deter the cooking process). Cook in batches if necessary.
  6. Press each ball of batter down slightly, to flatten and expose the raw batter to the hot oil.
  7. Fry the pancakes on the first side for approx. 2 minutes (until a light golden brown). Use a spatula to flip the pancakes, then fry on the second side for approx. 90 seconds. Remove the cooked pancakes to a workplate lined with a paper towel (to drain away any excess oil).
  8. Repeat steps 5, 6, 7 until all of the batter is cooked.

References:

  1. Briggs ADM, Mizdrak A, Scarborough P. A statin a day keeps the doctor away: comparative proverb assessment modelling study. BMJ 2013;347:f726.
  2. “EWG’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce | Apples,” at: www.ewg.org
  3. “Apples Household USDA Fact Sheet,” US Dept. of Agriculture, accessed at: https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_APPLES_FRESH_F510-515_2015.pdf
  4. Condezo-Hoyos L, Mohanty IP, Noratto GD. Assessing non-digestible compounds in apple cultivars and their potential as modulators of obese faecal microbiota in vitro. Food Chem. 2014 Oct 15;161:208–15.
  5. Dower JI, Geleijnse JM, Hollman PCh, Soedamah-Muthu SS, Kromhout D..Dietary epicatechin intake and 25-y risk of cardiovascular mortality: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016;104(1):58–64.
  6. Delphi L, Sepehri H. Apple pectin: A natural source for cancer suppression in 4T1 breast cancer cells in vitro and express p53 in mouse bearing 4T1 cancer tumors, in vivo. Biomed Pharmacother. 2016 Dec;84:637–644.
  7. Bakhtiari N, Hosseinkhani S, Tashakor A, Hemmati R..Ursolic acid ameliorates aging-metabolic phenotype through promoting of skeletal muscle rejuvenation. Med Hypotheses 2015 Jul;85(1):1–6. 8. Mueller D, Triebel S, Rudakovski O, Richling E. Influence of triterpenoids present in apple peel on inflammatory gene expression associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Food Chemistry. 2013;139(1–4):339–46.
  8. Karaman S, Tütem E, Baskan KS, Apak R. Comparison of antioxidant capacity and phenolic composition of peel and flesh of some apple varieties. J Sci Food Agric. 2013;93(4):867–75.
  9. Karaman S, Tütem E, Baskan KS, Apak R. Comparison of antioxidant capacity and phenolic composition of peel and flesh of some apple varieties. J Sci Food Agric. 2013;93(4):867–75.

Catherine Cebula

Health Is How You MAAKE It Catherine Cebula

As an American-Born Chinese (“ABC”), Catherine’s upbringing blended both worlds. Her culinary foundation is based in the attention to detail characteristic of Chinese cuisine (such as the selection and preparation of ingredients), enhanced by broad cross-cultural influences (including Italian, French, German, Mexican, other Asian, and other cuisines). With an educational background in the health sciences and professional experience as a medical writer, she complements the 75 “Tasty Templates” (guidance)—original ‘recipes’ with 50 “Thoughts On Food” (monographs)—state-of-the-science literature reviews that share evidence-based data as to mechanisms associated with ingredients appearing in the eBook’s “Tasty Templates.”

Rediscover the Lost Art of the Homemade Meal—to control calories, fat, sugar, sodium, and dining time. All of these factors can impact your waistline as well as your wallet. In to-day’s 24/7 world, Catherine recognizes that time is precious, so in “Health Is How You MAAKE It: Modern Asian-American Kitchen Experience” she shares a curated collection of recipes that have been streamlined to fewer steps, and swaps ingredients to healthier contemporary alter-natives.

Learn more about the project Modern Asian-American Kitchen Experience at: Health Is How You MAAKE It Kitchen
Learn more about the eBook “Health Is How You MAAKE It: Modern Asian-American Kitchen Experience,” at: https://www.amazon.com
Contact Catherine at: kitchen@keywordhealth.com