Apples are the fruits that grow on apple trees. There are lots of types of apples whose health benefits are known around the world. Although they are low in calories, apples are an important source of different nutrients.
The following article presents the health benefits of apples and their different types, as well as the gastronomic uses of cooked apples: from the apple cider vinegar to salads, pies and strudels.
Among others, apples have the following health benefits: they contain nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, silicon, phosphorus and sodium; as well as the vitamins B2, B6, C, E and K.
They also contain water, cellulose, sugars and compounds such as pectin (similar to fibre) and amino acids. To a lesser extent, they provide fat and proteins.
Due to these nutrition facts, apples are attributed several health benefits, many of them similar to those of other fruits and vegetables.
For example, their amino acids can help the liver get rid of different toxic substances, stimulate your immune system and the formation of gastric acid, which in turn helps to heal gastric sores and ulcers.
The amino acids found in apples also help absorb calcium and decrease the high levels of cholesterol.
It should be noted that what was mentioned before does not, in any case, replace a specialised medical treatment, particularly when there has been provided a diagnosis. Moreover, the health benefits of apples are usually less noticeable if you do not eat them regularly, and also if you combine them with flour and refined sugars.
The apple tree originated in Asia, but it is currently cultivated throughout the world thanks to its apple fruit. Although supermarkets usually offer between 3 and 4 different types, there are actually more than 10,000 types of apples.
Next, you can find seven of the main types of this fruit, according to the list retrieved from Coque, Díaz y García (2012):
Gala: a medium-sized apple with a yellow basic colour and sweet flavour. Its season is during the second half of August.
Elstar: a medium-sized apple with red and yellow stripes. It is crispier and sweeter, but a little sour. Its season is mid-September.
Jonagold: a large-sized apple with sweet flavour and a yellow basic colour with red in the middle. Its season is the beginning of October. A similar type is the Crimson Crisp and Florina.
Golden Delicious: also known as the yellow apple. It is a medium-sized apple with a sweet flavour that is picked by the end of September although it blossoms since April.
King of the Pippins: a medium-sized apple of a deep red colour and a sour flavour. It is harvested during the second half of October, although it blossoms since April.
Pero Mingan: an Asturian apple of medium-large size and yellow-green colour with brown spots. It is picked during the first half of October.
Prima: a large-sized apple, slightly red over a yellow basic colour. It is very juicy, but not so sweet. Its season is late August.
The number of apple calories mostly depends on their weight. For example, an apple that weights about 100 grams has 60 calories. For this reason, this fruit is widely used in different diets and recipes.
Apples are not only useful for losing weight, but also for maintaining it, since it is low in natural sugars and it is also easy to digest.
Apples are a very versatile fruit as they can be used for a great variety of dishes and stews, from sweet to salty ones. Besides, they can be eaten with peel or without peel, or be drunk as juice.
Taking into account their main uses, we will present some recipes, such as the apple cider vinegar, the apple salad, the apple pie and the apple strudel.
The apple cider vinegar is an acid juice that comes from the fermentation of apple juice or cider.
If you wonder about the use of apple cider vinegar, you should know that it is used for seasoning stews and salads, and also as a cleaning product. Some of the benefits that are attributed to this type of vinegar include: blood sugar levels control, feeling of fullness and a better response of your body to insulin.
The apple salad is a typical dish served at many parties, for example on Christmas holidays.
There are many ways of preparing it, although among the most well-known, you can find the following one (up to 5 serves): chop into small cubes 4 apples without skin, 250 grams of Manchego cheese, 150 grams of cherries, 8 walnuts, 4 peaches in syrup, liquid cream.
In a bowl or a large soup plate, mix all the ingredients and toss them by adding the syrup from both peaches and cherries. At the same time, add the liquid cream and taste it to see if it needs to be sweeter or to add more quantity of any of the ingredients.
The apple pie requires a more complex recipe. In order to make it in a simple and easy way, you need 5 egg yolks, 100 grams of sugar, 10 grams of ground cinnamon, one teaspoon of unflavoured gelatine, 4 apples chopped into cubes (without the skin, but you should keep it for the final decoration) and a ready-made pie crust, or puff pastry (depending on your taste).
Whisk the egg yolks and add the sugar making sure that the mixture is homogeneous. Then, add the ground cinnamon and finally, the chopped apples. If you like, you can use cooked apples for the mixture.
Once you have done this, place the mixture into the crust or puff pastry. Over the mixture, you can place slices of apple or another layer of crust with large slits in the middle.
Finally, bake at 180º-190ºC for about 20 minutes. After this time, brush the pie with the juice made from the apple skin boiled in one litre of water with the unflavoured gelatine.
The apple strudel is a typical dessert from Germany, Hungary and Austria, although it is currently eaten around the world. In order to prepare this recipe, you need peeled apples chopped into small pieces.
Mix the chopped apples with two tablespoons of sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of nutmeg, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of vanilla or rum. Bake the mixture for about 5 to 10 minutes to get ready the strudel’s filling.
Afterwards, brush with melted butter a sheet of filo pastry and repeat this step another 4 times, so you end up having 5 sheets.
Add the filling and fold the pastry’s sides without reaching the centre. Once you have done this, roll the pastry up around the filling like a sushi roll (it is recommended to use a tea towel, since the pastry is very fragile).
Finally, brush the strudel with an egg previously whisked with a tablespoon of milk. Preheat the oven to 190ºC and bake for approximately 25 minutes. You can serve it with sprinkled icing sugar or some grounded cinnamon.
Apples are not only known for the variety of dishes and desserts to which they can be added, but also for becoming the main ingredient of one of the wonder diets that promise a weight reduction in a few days as well as a detoxification of the body.
Broadly speaking, the apple diet consists mainly of eating this fruit for 5 days. The first day, you should eat only apples, and from the second day, add little by little other types of food.
First, you should incorporate plant-based food, such as salads and vegetables; then, cereals and legumes; and finally, wholemeal bread and food of animal origin (meat and eggs).
You should avoid any other fats or sugars different from those contained in this fruit. If this diet is strictly followed (as with any other), you should be able to actually notice a significant weight loss.
However, as it happens with other wonder diets, the apple diet supposes high risks and side effects. For example, it can cause a spontaneous regain of weight once you go back to your usual diet. Also, there may be a significant unbalance of the essential nutrients during the period of the diet.
Therefore, this type of diets is not recommended for everybody. First, you should consult a dietician and try to moderate your eating habits on a daily basis (not only for 5 intense days). You should do this in order to avoid serious health problems as well as slow down your goal of losing weight.
Coque, M., Díaz, M., García, J.C. (2012). El cultivo del manzano: variedades de sidra y mesa. Ediciones Mundi-Prensa: Spain.
Murray, G. (2018). El poder curativo de los jugos. Editorial Selector: Mexico