Nutrition: A Love Affair With Apples, by Julie Daniluk

I have a real love affair with apples and use it as a main remedy whenever a sweet craving comes a-knocking. Most fruit grown in the North like apples, pears, berries, plums, nectarines and peaches are lower in sugar than tropical fruit and therefore make the best choices for anyone who needs to watch their blood sugar.

I grew up with the phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. It turned out to be true. Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom reported a nine-year population study of 2,633 adults found that apple eaters have better lung function and lower risk of respiratory disease such as asthma than non-apple eaters. In fact, eating five or more apples a week was linked to slightly better lung function. The lung capacity in those individuals who ate apples was 138 millilitres higher, as compared to those who did not eat apples.

One of the most important tools of weight loss is feeling full. That’s why one of the great things about apples is that a large one contains five grams of fibre, which helps to keep you to feeling satisfied.

Many of the health benefits of apples are in their skin, so it is important to source apples that are not sprayed with pesticides. I was able to buy a whole bushel of no-spray apples from my local farmer for $15 because they were not cosmetically perfect. You can find all kinds of local apples at their peak flavour right now in supermarkets and farmer stalls. I encourage you to take a bite!

Five more reasons to eat apples
1. They help reduce inflammation and prevent colon cancer: Apples contain pectin, which is a soluble fibre that prevents the occurrence of colon cancer. Apple pectin also has the ability to modulate the inflammatory response and protect against painful inflammation.
2. Apples contain immune-boosting vitamin C: This makes apples a great snack to ward off the common cold and flu.
3. They reduce spikes in blood sugar: Apples contain amylase inhibitors, which decrease the absorption of starch and sugar in the intestinal tract. These polyphenols in apples lower absorption of sugars and prevent blood-glucose spikes while lowering the glycemic load of your entire meal.
4. Reduce belly fat with apples: Apples have been shown to significantly reduce visceral belly fat in overweight individuals with zero side effects. The polyphenols in apples also play an important role in the metabolism of all types of body fat.
5. Apples reduce cholesterol and protect against cardiovascular disease: Apples contain specific procyanidins that have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. These are the same procyanidins that are present in red grapes to protect against heart disease and contribute to “the French paradox.”

Raw apple crumble pie

Did you know the pectin in apples helps lower bad cholesterol by as much as 16 percent? This raw apple recipe is an easy way of spicing up your everyday apples, and turning them into a healthy gourmet treat.

Filling:
5 organic Granny Smith apples sliced very thinly
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp of cinnamon
2 tbsp honey
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
Pie crust:
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1 cup raw cashews
½ cup dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp coconut oil
Crumble topping:
¼ cup raw hazelnuts
¼ cup cashews
¼ cup quinoa flakes
¼ cup dried cranberries

Directions:
1. Begin with the pie crust by soaking the hazelnuts and cashews for 20 minutes.
2. Slice the apples with a mandolin and let them marinate with the lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and honey for 30 minutes.
3. Drain the pie crust nuts, then combine in a food processor with the dates, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pulse until it sticks together and is fine. Use coconut oil to coat your pan, then mold the pie crust and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes.
4. For the topping put the hazelnuts, cashews, quinoa, and cranberries into a food processor and pulse until fine.
5. Drain the pie filling, then pour filling into your pie crust and sprinkle the crumble on top.
Makes 10 servings
Julie Daniluk, RHN, hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that highlights the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition by using unique groups such as bikers, dragon boat racers and ballroom dancers to challenge their taste buds with nutritious foods. Julie is excited that her show was chosen to be part of OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network). Similar to Oprah’s book club, programs on OWN explore stories of strength and transformation. Television viewers also recognize Julie from her “busted” segments on The Right Fit (W Network) and The Marilyn Dennis Show (CTV) where she examines the foods people need to stay healthy, acting as a nutrition encyclopedia. Her fun and engaging style comes in handy when she creates a recipe a week that is packed with health tips for www.chatelaine.com. Her new book Meals That Heal Inflammation is available in stores now.