Apples Really Are Good For You

You probably have heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

The person who coined that phrase knew what he or she was talking about. Researchers have shown that apples are good for your health. Apples also provide taste, texture and color in your diet. Fall brings bountiful baskets of crisp apples to enjoy.

Apples have been studied for their effects on a variety of health issues. They have been found to help with weight maintenance or loss and blood glucose control, and they may reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer and some behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

One apple contains 5 grams of fiber. The skin provides the majority of the fiber content. Eating a fresh apple with the peel intact will give you the maximum health benefit.

A medium apple contains about 80 calories and is fat-, sodium- and cholesterol free. Apples also provide vitamins C and A.

Do you have a type of apple that you like best? Apples can be sweet, tart, crisp, soft, smooth or crunchy, depending on the variety.

We can grow many types of apples in North Dakota and the Midwest region. More than 2,500 apple cultivars are grown in the U.S., and more than 7,500 are grown worldwide. These cultivars grow well in North Dakota:

  • Hazen
  • Honeycrisp
  • Zestar
  • Sweet Sixteen
  • Haralred

 You can purchase fresh, canned, dried or frozen apples and make a variety of baked goods with them, including pie and cobbler. You also can cook and eat apples by themselves, and you can preserve them or make them into applesauce, cider or juice. Tart apples are better for cooking, while sweeter apples are better for fresh eating.

Fresh apples will turn brown when cut and exposed to air. If you are planning to serve sliced apples, add a few drops of lemon juice to slow the discoloration. Apples can be stored at room temperature for a few days, but if kept longer, they should be refrigerated. Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated.

To learn more about apples, see the North Dakota State University Extension Service publication “From Orchard to Table: Apples!” at

www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/from-orchard-to-table-apples/fn1847.pdf.

Visit NDSU Extension’s Field to Fork website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork for more information about a variety of specialty crops, including apples.

Here’s a tasty recipe to enjoy with your favorite type of apple.

Apple Nachos

1/3 c. dried, unsweetened cranberries or raisins
1/4 c. sliced almonds, unsalted
2 Tbsp. hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds
3 medium apples (red or green), cored and thinly sliced (about 12 pieces per apple)
1 to 2 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. hot water
1/4 c. reduced-fat, smooth peanut butter
1 Tbsp. honey

Chocolate chips or coconut (optional)

In a small bowl, combine dried cranberries/raisins, almonds and sunflower seeds. Core each apple and thinly slice into about 12 pieces each. Layer half of the apples onto a large plate or platter. If the apple slices will be sitting out for a while, sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Using a microwave oven or teapot, bring 2 tablespoons of water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine hot water, peanut butter and honey. Use a spoon and stir until mixture is smooth. Use a spoon to drizzle the peanut butter mixture over the plated apple slices; sprinkle with half the cranberry mixture. Layer the remaining apples on top and repeat with remaining peanut butter and cranberry mixture. Sprinkle with chocolate chips or coconut if desired. Serve.

Makes eight servings. Each serving has 167 calories, 7.4 grams (g) fat, 4 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 66 milligrams sodium.

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Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is an Extension food and nutrition specialist and professor at North Dakota State University.

2 Responses

  1. PDM

    Big fan of the apples coming from New Zealand. Especially KURU and KANSI. Better than honey crisp and way cheaper. Select orchards grow giant Arkansas blacks in my area and they are excellent as well. Hardy and last forever when kept cool.

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