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Are apples healthy?

DETROIT – You’ve heard the old saying, “An apple a day keeps high cholesterol away”.  

Wait, that’s not it, is it, “An apple a day keeps diabetes away”, or “An apple a day keeps dementia away, or breast cancer, or stroke, or obesity away?”  Actually, there are studies supporting the possibility that apples can help reduce your risk of all the previously mentioned afflictions!

A recent study from Ohio State University had patients eat an apple every day for 30 days, which resulted in a 40% reduction in LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol).  

This is likely due to the fiber content of apples, which comes in around 4.5 grams per medium apple.  This is twice as much as you’d get from one serving of Metamucil.  The recommended amount of daily fiber for adults it 25-35 grams per day.  An apple is a great start.  

But before you peel your apple, understand that the majority of the fiber and nutrients are found in the peel.  In fact, Red Delicious apples had up to 8 times as many polyphenols (good antioxidants) in the peel than in the flesh.  

Other apples are similar, in that the peel has more nutrition and fiber than the flesh, but Red Delicious came in with the highest nutrients.  It was followed closely by Ida Red and Northern Spy.

Another apple that stood out from the rest when studied was the Granny Smith.  It had the highest effects on gut-friendly bacteria, which may help with weight loss.  Over time, this could potentially translate into less obesity if you eat an apple a day.  And at around only 80 calories each, it’s a great snack choice.

Speaking of eating an apple a day, with over 7500 varieties of apples worldwide, it would take you over 20 years to eat a different type of apple each day!  You better get started!  Reach into your fridge and grab an apple.  What, you don’t store your apples in the refrigerator?  Apples left at room temperature ripen 10 times faster.  By storing the apples in the refrigerator, they’ll maintain their nutritional value and ripen slower.  So even though they won’t get rotten or moldy very quickly on the counter, don’t be tempted to store them there.  Refrigerated apples have higher levels of heart-healthy polyphenols.

Here are two quick, easy, and healthy dips for dipping apple slices: 

Chunky Salted Caramel Dip
1 cup Medjool dates (pitted)
¼ cup nut milk (may need more for smoother blending)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ teaspoon sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a powerful blender until smooth.  Enjoy!

Spiced Peanut Butter Dip
½ cup peanut butter
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
1-2 tablespoons honey to taste
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or similar)

Mix by hand until smooth, then dig in!

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