Building a Plant-Centred Pantry: Apples
I feel like apples tie with bananas for the title of most democratic (and most underrated!) of fruits. I love apples because they are grown close to home (well – for me, anyways!), they are affordable and require zero prep to eat.
Most of us have heard of the saying, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, and let’s be honest…it’s not exactly accurate. However, the humble apple actually have a lot more nutrition to offer than you might think.
Let’s dive into the health benefits of apples, and how to enjoy them more often.
Apples + Fibre
Apples are actually one of the highest fibre fruits out there, so an apple a day really helps keep digestion chugging along. There are about 4 grams of fibre in one medium apple – to put that into context, women and men need 25 and 38 g of fibre per day, respectively.
However, apples are also a great source of soluble fibre, which forms a soothing gel in the gut that helps moderate blood sugar rise and lower cholesterol. Soluble fibre is more difficult to find in foods, making apples a great reliable source.
Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Apples
While apples aren’t super high in traditional vitamins and minerals, each apple has about 14% of the vitamin C you need in a day. Vitamin C is able to help support healthy immune function, support collagen production, keep your gums healthy and enhance iron absorption. Since it is an antioxidant, it may possibly reduce the risk of some cancers and prevent some signs of aging as part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
However, what does excite me about apples are their phyto-chemicals. Apples contain quercetin, which helps support respiratory health and fight inflammation. Apples also contain catechins, the same compounds found in green tea. So, while a single apple won’t ward off tennis elbow…eating apples daily is a really affordable way to boost your intake of plant power.
Can apples cause bloating and intestinal discomfort?
The one downer to the ra-ra apple party: apples are a high FODMAP food, meaning that they could potentially cause bloating and intestinal discomfort in those who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Take note of the potential part.
Apples are avoided during a low FODMAP elimination diet. However, the reason we eliminate FODMAPs in IBS is the very same reason they’re so good for us: FODMAPs feed beneficial bacteria in gut. Which is a good thing!
This is also why low FODMAP diets are not meant to be long term and only serve to identify certain foods that trigger IBS symptoms. Thus, for those with IBS, apples have the chance to be incorporated into the diet again once your elimination period is over. If you have IBS and have been considering a low FODMAP approach, check out my self-guided Banish the Bloat program.
For most people, apples are a fantastic and nutrient-dense food to incorporate into their diets. And, if you want to learn more about how I manage my IBS without a low FODMAP diet, learn more here.
Creative Ways to Eat More Apples
Did you know that there are about 7500 different apple varieties in the world?
With so many varieties, colours and flavours to choose from, the things you can do with apples are really endless. One of my favourite apple varieties is honeycrisp. They taste exactly like its name, sweet as honey and firm to the bite.
Here are some easy ways to add apples to your everyday life that don’t include just biting into one:
- Chop or grate and use as a topping on yogurt, oatmeal or salads.
- Slice and dip them in nut butter for an added source of protein and healthy fats. You can also slice into rounds and make nut butter ‘sandwiches’ with raisins which are super fun.
- Blend them into green smoothies. I love this combination because apples add just the right amount of sweetness without making the smoothie overly creamy.
- Dice them into cakes, muffins and pancakes
- Saute with vegan butter and a drizzle of maple syrup and some cinnamon for a warm snack that feels like dessert.