What are the benefits of baked apples? Are there any REAL benefits? I researched health benefits and found no scientific or medical reasons for baking an apple. So my reviews of an apple baked in the oven is based on taste.
Apple pies, apple crisps and apple turnovers are three of my favorite desserts. Of course that’s when they’re made with fresh apples, not canned apples. Fresh apples are a treat any time of the year, but in the fall I like to bake up a batch and take them to every function I go to.
Impressive Health Benefits of Apples
With over 7,000 different cultivars available worldwide, it’s no surprise that apples are the most widely consumed fruit globally .
From sweet red varieties, like Red Delicious, Fuji or Gala, to tangy green ones, like Granny Smith — my personal favorite that I enjoy with lime juice and a little salt when I want a savory snack — there sure is an apple for everyone.
They’re commonly used in recipes, like pies, cookies, muffins, jam, salads, oatmeal, or smoothies. They also make a great snack on their own or wedged and smeared with nut butter.
In addition to their culinary versatility and numerous colors and flavors to choose from, apples are an exceptionally healthy fruit with many research-backed benefits.
Here are eight impressive health benefits of apples.
Apples are considered nutrient-dense fruits, meaning they provide a lot of nutrients per serving.
The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2 cups of fruit daily for a 2,000-calorie diet, emphasizing whole fruits, like apples .
One medium 7-ounce (200-grams) apple offers the following nutrients :
- Calories: 104
- Carbs: 28 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Vitamin C: 10% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Copper: 6% of the DV
- Potassium: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 4% of the DV
The same serving also provides 2–5% of the DV for vitamins E, B1, and B6.
Vitamin E serves as a fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin B1 — also known as thiamine — is needed for growth and development, and vitamin B6 is essential for protein metabolism.
Apples are also a rich source of polyphenols, an important group of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that protect your cells from free radicals — harmful molecules that contribute to the development of chronic conditions, like heart disease and cancer .
While nutrition labels don’t list these plant compounds, they’re likely responsible for many of apples’ health benefits
To get the most out of apples, leave the skin on, as it contains half of the fiber and most of the polyphenols
Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants, like vitamin E, and polyphenols that contribute to the fruit’s numerous health benefits.
2. May support weight loss
Apples are high in fiber and water, two qualities that make them filling.
An increasing feeling of fullness works as a weight-loss strategy, as it helps manage your appetite. This, in turn, might lead you to reduce your energy intake .
In one study, eating whole apples increased feelings of fullness for up to 4 hours longer than consuming equal amounts of apple purée or juice. This happened, because whole apples reduce gastric emptying — the rate at which your stomach empties its contents
Research also suggests apple intake may significantly reduce Body Mass Index (BMI), a weight-related risk factor for heart disease
Interestingly, apple polyphenols may also have anti-obesity effects .
Apples are particularly filling due to their high fiber and water content. Their polyphenols may also have anti-obesity effects.
3. Could be good for your heart
Apples have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease .
One reason may be that they contain soluble fiber. This kind of fiber can help lower your blood cholesterol levels.
Another reason may be that they offer polyphenols. Some of these, namely the flavonoid epicatechin, may lower blood pressure .
Studies have also linked high intakes of flavonoids with a lower risk of stroke
Plus, flavonoids can help prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol oxidation, and reducing atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in your arteries .
Another study has also linked eating white-fleshed fruits and vegetables, like apples and pears, to a reduced risk of stroke. For every 1/5 cup (25 grams) of apple slices consumed per day, the risk of stroke decreased by 9% .
Apples promote heart health in several ways. They’re high in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. They also have polyphenols, which are linked to lower blood pressure and stroke risk.
4. Linked to a lower risk of diabetes
Eating apples may also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
A compilation of studies found that eating apples and pears was associated with an 18% reduction in type 2 diabetes risk. In fact, just one serving per week may reduce the risk by 3%
Their high content of the antioxidant polyphenols quercetin and phloridzin could explain this beneficial effect .
Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory effects may reduce insulin resistance, a big risk factor for the onset of diabetes. Meanwhile, phloridzin is believed to reduce sugar uptake in the intestines, contributing to a reduced blood sugar load and thereby reduced diabetes risk
Eating apples is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, potentially due to their polyphenol content.
5. May promote gut health
Apples contain pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic. This means it feeds your gut microbiota, which is the good bacteria in your gut.
Since dietary fiber cannot be digested, pectin reaches your colon intact, promoting the growth of good bacteria. It especially improves the ratio of Bacteriodetes to Firmicutes, the two main types of bacteria in your gut
New research suggests that, by beneficially altering your gut microbiota, apples may help protect against chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer .
The type of fiber found in apples improves your gut-friendly bacteria, which may be why the fruit is thought to help protect against chronic diseases.
Nutrition of Cooked Apples
Cooked apples are a delicious addition to your breakfast and, when sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon and honey, make a delicious dessert. You can make applesauce, apple pie, apple turnovers or even apple tarts out of cooked apples. Fortunately, they offer heart-healthy fiber and many essential vitamins, making them a healthy choice for your diet. The one thing you have to keep in mind, though, is that many cooked apple products, like canned apples and baked goods, have added sugar, which shouldn’t be eaten in large amounts.
Calories and Sugar
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you’ll ingest only about 53 calories per 100 grams of boiled, unsweetened apple and 56 calories per 100 grams of unsweetened, microwaved apple. About half a cup of cooked apple slices is the equivalent of 100 grams. Apples are naturally sweet and contain around 11 grams of sugar per 100 grams without added sweeteners like sugar or honey. Keep in mind that most commercially canned cooked apples include added sugar, so you’ll have to factor that in as well. For example, one brand of kettle-cooked apples with caramel sauce had almost 18 grams of sugar per 100 grams of cooked apple, nearly double the amount of sugar in unsweetened cooked apples.
Apples are a fiber-rich food, and cooked apples contain between 4 and 5 grams of fiber per cup of apple slices that have been boiled or microwaved. That’s about 17 to 20 percent of your daily recommended fiber intake, according to the University of California San Francisco. This figure pertains to apples without skin that have been cooked. If you leave the skin on, your cooked apples will have more fiber because the skin holds much of their fiber content.
Note that apples offer both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps bulk up your stools and may help decrease cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber, primarily found in the peel of the apple, promotes regularity.
Plenty of Vitamins
Cooked apples are a good source of vitamin C. Microwaved apples have 0.3 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams while boiled apples contain 0.2. Cooked apples also contain smaller amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin A and vitamin E.
Both raw and cooked apples are a great source of polyphenols, although the amount decreases when apples are cooked. Polyphenols act as antioxidants in your body, helping to prevent conditions like cardiovascular disease.
Eating Cooked Apples
Cooked apples are an excellent, low-calorie alternative to sugar-laden desserts. Simply sprinkle them with cinnamon and microwave them until soft or boil and mash them to create applesauce. Whether cooking them whole or chopped, keep the peel on to preserve nutrients. Keep in mind that sugar is used in canned apples to preserve their color, texture and flavor. If you’re canning your own, avoid adding extra sugar during the cooking stage by using white grape juice instead of a sugar syrup.
Apples are all created the same, nutritionally, but baking and drying create new textures and flavors. Baked apples tend to have additives, such as sugar, that will decrease the nutritional value. The best apples for baking include the McIntosh or a Granny Smith, but one of the worst is a Red Delicious due to its duller apple flavor. The Honeycrisp is one of the best to eat raw: It is sweet like honey and very crisp.
One cup of baked apple provides 105 calories, 1 gram of protein and 28 grams of total carbohydrate if left unsweetened. A baked apple is a good source of fiber with 5 grams total, which is 19 percent of the daily target. On the other hand, a serving of baked apple that is sweetened will provide 181 calories, with 84 empty calories. The total carbohydrate count also increases to 47 grams per one-cup serving.
Eating an apple in its natural state, raw and with the skin, provides 95 total calories. A raw apple is not a good source of protein with less than a half a gram per serving. The total carbohydrates in a medium-sized raw apple is 25 grams with 4 grams of fiber. Removing the skin from an apple also removes some of the nutrition. The total calories is less at 77, but the fiber is also decreased to only two grams, making it a less healthy choice.
Apples can also be dried, which preserves many of their natural nutrients. For 1 cup of dried apples there are 209 total calories, 56 grams of total carbohydrates and 7.5 grams of fiber. The increase in calories, carbohydrates and fiber for the same serving size is due to the increase volume of apple that you are eating. When drying an apple the liquid is removed which shrinks the apple. The drying process reserves most of the sugar and other nutrients from the apple that provide calories, carbohydrates and fiber.
You can do many different things with raw and baked apples. When eating raw apples, try a tasting bar of different varieties and compare and contrast their flavor. Raw apples can also be diced and used in salads. Baking apples can go beyond just dessert. Use your baked apples to make a chutney for sandwiches and grilled meats. Or turn them into a chunky applesauce.