Unbeknownst to you all, we are smack dab in the middle of an exciting beauty food series. Surprise! It was quite unintentional, but once I realized what was happening, I decided to run with it. If you’ve read my last couple of posts you may have spotted a pattern. They have all quietly featured one of my favorite humble superfoods: apples!
How Do You Like Them Apples?
I like them! I like them a lot! Pumpkin isn’t the only star in the fall beauty food spotlight. When September rolls around, fresh picked apples start rolling in from the orchards. Here in the Great Lakes State, apples are kind of a big deal. We are the third largest producer of apples in the U.S. You don’t have to go far to find a “U-Pick” apple orchard, apple cider mill, or road-side stand stacked with apples. Lucky for me, my parents have supplied me with oodles of apples this year from their own trees. Even my daughter’s first food word was apple (which she pronounces ap-PUL, followed by an enthusiastic MMMM!). Sometimes my apple-a-day habit turns into two a day if I’m whipping up recipes like my Green Apple Pie Smoothie. Apples are one of my go-to snack foods, and even better with a spoonful of almond butter. I like them chopped and added to salads, sliced and layered on nut butter atop my morning toast, stirred into oatmeal, baked with cinnamon and raisins, and even blended into pureed soups. We always keep the fruit bowl and fridge stocked with apples.
When it comes to eating for health and beauty, sometimes we think we have to purchase a cart-load of exotic foods and superfood powders to look and feel our best. While I love trying new fruits and vegetables, and scrutinizing the shelves of cool products at the health food store, sometimes the best foods we can eat are the simplest. Despite being a no-frills fruit, the unassuming apple is bursting with powerful nutrients that fight disease and keep our complexions radiant. Let’s take a look-see at some of the amazing benefits of our familiar friend the apple.
Radiant, Youthful Skin
Apples have an array of health and beauty boosting compounds, including flavonoids, polyphenols, and a moderate amount of vitamin C. These antioxidants fight free radicals, protecting the collagen in our skin from oxidative damage. The presence of the flavenoid quercetin, especially abundant in the peeling of Cortland, Golden Delicious, and Monroe varieties, can also offer us built-in protection from the sun’s damaging rays.
Reduced Risk of Disease
The old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” might need to be modified to include “surgeon” and “pharmacist” as well. Recent studies have shown that regular apple eaters are less likely to die from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease, and less likely to suffer a stroke. Once again, their impressive antioxidant content is thought to be responsible, by reducing inflammation and halting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. A study from Cornell University identified compounds in apples called triterpenoids, which appear to show anti-cancer activity. In yet another study, a survey of people’s daily eating habits found that individuals who had consumed apples in the last 24 hours were less likely to have symptoms of metabolic syndrome, which is a group of symptoms linked to heart disease and diabetes.
Slim, Healthy Body
Apples can help us reach and maintain a healthy weight. This is thanks in part to the fiber in apples, which can help keep you feeling fuller, longer. Also, a compound found in the peel called ursolic acid may help people lose weight, by increasing calorie burning brown fat and muscle, according to a study done at the University of Iowa. Furthermore, studies suggest that the quercetin in apples may help you exercise longer. The antioxidant aids in physical endurance by making oxygen more available to the lungs. The result? Better, more effective workouts.
These are just a few of the health benefits I ran across while researching this fabulous fruit. Scouring the internet for information and sorting through articles and research studies took quite some time. Thankfully, I had plenty of energy from sipping on my latest favorite green smoothie! My Green Apple Pie Smoothie is chock-full of healthy ingredients that will power your busy morning (or afternoon, or whenever!) and supply your hair and skin with a host of beautifying nutrients. I have tried many a green smoothie recipe, and quite a few apple dessert smoothies, but I have to say this one takes the
cake pie! Not only is it bursting with apples, it also has leafy greens, walnuts, oats, chia seeds, and spices. This yummy smoothie supplies a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and Vitamins A,C, E, and K. These nutrients are important for preventing acne and wrinkles, as well as keeping hair shiny and full. Plus, it tastes like apple pie! Whether you’re looking for a filling breakfast, or a healthy mid-day snack, this smoothie is a great choice.
Green Apple Pie Smoothie
Makes 1 Serving
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 large handful of spinach, kale, or other favorite greens
- 1 – 2 cups chopped and frozen apple
- 2 Tablespoons walnuts (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons rolled oats
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
- 1-2 dates (or other preferred sweetener, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- pinch of ginger
- dash of cloves
For best digestion and easier blending, I would recommend preparing your smoothie ingredients the night before: pour the oats and dates in a jar and fill with the one cup of almond milk, cover, and allow to soak in the fridge overnight. Also, place walnuts in a separate jar and cover with water, allowing to soak overnight. In the morning you will simply pour the milk, oats, and dates into the blender. Then, drain and rinse your walnuts before adding to the blender. If you have a high-speed blender, you can just throw all of the ingredients in (frozen apples last) and blend on high until smooth. I use the full 2 cups of frozen apples when blending this in my Vitamix. Soaking ingredients isn’t necessary if you have a high-powered blender, but still might be a good idea for better digestion and absorption of nutrients in the walnuts.
To get near-Vitamix results from a regular blender, blend in stages. Start with the liquid and greens, blending until you have a green colored milk. Then, add in all other ingredients except the frozen fruit, blending again until smooth. Add the frozen ingredients last, and blend, adding more liquid as necessary. Start with a cup of frozen apples and stop and add more if needed. Soaking ingredients like nuts, seeds, oats, and buckwheat overnight can help out your blender as well.