The beauty of the humble stewed apple
You’ve all heard an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but do you know what stewed apples can do for your health? As a huge proponent of food first when it comes to nutrition and supplements second (or third, fourth or fifth after exercise, sleep and stress management), making the humble stewed apples can have amazing benefits for your gut and overall health, not just your tastebuds.
Apples are rich in polyphenols and pectin. Polyphenols are a group of compounds occurring in plant foods that have positive effects on our health – heart, gut, immune system and so on. Different fruits and vegetables will provide different types of polyphenols. For example, resveratrol is found in red wine, anthocyanins are found in you red/blue/purple foods, capsacianoids are in capsicums and chillies, flaxseeds have lignans, curcumin is in turmeric and so on! Without getting into the science of it all exert positive health effects and have anti-oxidant capacity. Apples have a range of polyphenols including flavonols, anthocyanin and quercetin.
So, what is pectin? Pectin is a type of soluble fibre found in fruits, especially in apples, it is found in the core and skin. Pectin can have many health benefits from gut health, cardiovascular health, immune function and more – however it is important to note that the fallout of eating a diet rich in fast foods, deep fried, nutrient deplete foods, soft drinks, alcohol and cigarettes will not be counteracted by simply eating 1 apple a day. It’s all about balance and how to help your body along the way.
When you cook apples, this helps release more pectin! Pectin is also considered a prebiotic – so whilst you may have heard of probiotics for years now, a prebiotic is the food for our gut bacteria. So basically, your gut is what you eat! By choosing beneficial healthy prebiotic foods you will feed the ‘good’ bacteria and help optimise the ratio of gut bacteria in your bowel, this will have more of a long-term beneficial effect than just supplementing with probiotics. How cool!
Furthermore, pectin helps produce Butyrate – a Short Chain Fatty Acid, butyrate is produced when the ‘good’ bacteria break down dietary fibre. Butyrate has significant health benefits – estimated to provide approximately 70% of energy needs for your colon microbes. Whilst research is still needed early studies show butyrate may help with gut integrity by enhancing the mucosa, inflammation, cardiovascular health, blood glucose regulation by improving insulin sensitivity and may even help with sleep.
But what about the subgroup of people who are sensitive to foods like apples? If you are following a Low FODMAP diet (this is a therapeutic intervention and should be done so under a qualified practitioner for a short amount of time) then you may like to try stewed pears.
Also important to remember a fertile gut means a fertile body!
· 4-6 apples, thinly sliced or diced, well washed and preferably unpeeled
· 1tsp butter or ghee (optional)
· 2tsp cinnamon
· Drop of water
· In a large pot or pan melt the butter and cinnamon
· Add the apples and coat in butter and cinnamon
· If needed add a drop of water
· Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until apples are soft enough to poke with a fork
· Remove from heat.
· Serve on own or with muesli, natural or coconut yoghurt
· Extra bonus points for extra teaspoon of cinnamon for blood sugar regulation, pinch of grated or ground ginger for enhanced digestion and even a sprinkle of flaxseeds for bowel regularity and a broad-spectrum probiotic…. Of course, these aren’t necessary but a nice to have J
Cook away and let me know how you go