Apple ConfitI've heard the phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" more times than I care to count. But being the science nerd I am, I won't believe it until I see it-the scientific evidence, that is. (Frankly, I'm such a geek that I practically want my doctor to give me an annotated bibliography if I'm going to follow any health advice.)
An article we published in EatingWell's October 2008 issue by author Joyce Hendley convinced me to load up on apples. Hendley writes about the science supporting this age-old phrase. Read the complete story for yourself or check out these highlights:
- Apples may help protect you from metabolic syndrome-a cluster of symptoms related to an increased risk of heart disease, suggests a recent study that analyzed data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In the survey, people who reported eating any form of apples within the past day were 27 percent less likely to have symptoms of metabolic syndrome-like high blood pressure or a waist measurement of over 40 inches (for men) or 35 inches (for women)-compared to those who didn't.
- Last year, the Iowa Women's Health Study reported that, among the 34,000-plus women it's been tracking for nearly 20 years, apples were associated with a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
- Frequent apple eaters had the lowest risk of suffering strokes compared with nonapple eaters, according to Finnish researchers studying dietary data collected over 28 years from 9,208 men and women.
Enjoy apples in all their forms-applesauce and juice (look for brands labeled "made with whole apples") and especially apples in their simplest, whole form. Leaving the peel on isn't essential, but that's where much of the healthy phytochemicals are. Here are a few delicious EatingWell apple recipes:
3 pounds firm cooking/baking apples, such as Granny Smith, Northern Spy, Rome or Golden Delicious
1/4 cup sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peel the apples and slice 1/4 inch thick. (You should have about 9 cups.) Place the apples in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste, and toss to coat well. Cover and cook until the apples are very tender and almost translucent, but not pureed, 2 to 2 1/2 hours on high or 4 to 4 1/2 hours on low. Stir in vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 98 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrate; 0 g protein; 4 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 168 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Fiber (16% daily value). 2 Carbohydrate Servings. Exchanges: 1 1/2 fruit.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Baked Apples: the aroma of baked apples filled with dried fruit and toasted nuts will brighten up any cold fall day.
Curried Waldorf Salad: The classic version of this sweet and savory salad was invented at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York in the 1890s and did not contain walnuts. We've updated it by substituting yogurt for some of the mayonnaise and adding citrus, dried fruits, nuts and curry powder.
By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.
Brierley's interest in nutrition and food come together in her position as an associate editor at EatingWell. Brierley holds a master's degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A Registered Dietitian, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont.
Related Links from EatingWell:
Find healthy recipes in over 100 recipe collections-from chicken to Chinese to cake-at eatingwell.com.
- Get recipes for more than 175 of your favorite comfort Foods in EatingWell's newest book, Comfort Foods Made Healthy.
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