Apples are one of the most popular fruits — and for good reason. They’re an exceptionally healthy fruit with many research-backed benefits. They are also one of the most popular fruits in the world. And they are an evolving fruit, with new varieties always being created.
Apples Are Nutritious
A medium apple — with a diameter of about 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) — equals 1.5 cups of fruit. Two cups of fruit daily are recommended on a 2,000-calorie diet. One medium apple — 6.4 ounces or 182 grams — offers the following nutrients:
- Calories: 95
- Carbs: 25 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Vitamin C: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
What’s more, the same serving provides 2–4% of the RDI for manganese, copper, and the vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6. Apples are also a rich source of polyphenols. While nutrition labels don’t list these plant compounds, they’re likely responsible for many of the health benefits. To get the most out of apples, leave the skin on — it contains half of the fiber and many of the polyphenols.
They Promote Good Gut Bacteria
Apples contain pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic. This means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Your small intestine doesn’t absorb fiber during digestion. Instead, it goes to your colon, where it can promote the growth of good bacteria. It also turns into other helpful compounds that circulate back through your body. New research suggests that this may be the reason behind some of the protective effects of apples against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Apples May Be Good for Weight Loss
Apples are high in fiber and water — two qualities that make them filling. In a recent study, people who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller than those who consumed applesauce, apple juice, or no apple products.
In another 10-week study in 50 overweight women, participants who ate apples lost an average of 2 pounds and ate fewer calories overall, compared to those who ate oat cookies with a similar calorie and fiber content.
Researchers think that apples are more filling because they’re less energy-dense, yet still deliver fiber and volume. Furthermore, some natural compounds in them may promote weight loss.
Check out a few easy recipes to include apples in your diet.
- 7 to 8 large (9 cups) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large Eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup Butter, melted
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Place sliced apples into ungreased 13×9-inch baking dish.
- Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in bowl; sprinkle over apples.
- Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and salt in bowl; mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Pour melted butter over topping. Bake 45-55 minutes or until lightly browned and apples are tender.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Caramel Apple Dip
- 6 tbsp. salted butter
- 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp. heavy cream
- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 c. chopped roasted, salted peanuts
- 3 apples (assorted colors), sliced
- Make the caramel: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and heavy cream and bring to a simmer, stirring. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently until the sugar is dissolved and the caramel is bubbly, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly, 15 to 20 minutes.
- When the caramel is warm (not hot), beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in three-quarters of the caramel until incorporated. Spoon into a serving bowl.
- Microwave the remaining caramel until pourable, about 20 seconds, then pour over the dip. Sprinkle with the peanuts. Serve immediately with the sliced apples or refrigerate for up to 4 hours; let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
- 6 lb. apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 slices
- 1 c. apple juice or apple cider
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp. cinnamon, more or less to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.
- Carefully puree in a food processor or blender (don’t fill too full; split into two portions if needed) until smooth. Store in the fridge and serve by itself, over pork chops, over ice cream, over pancakes…or any place where applesauce is needed!