Apples are the ultimate fruit; they are readily available, store well in the fridge, and are perfectly portable for on-the-go munching. Slather a spoonful of nut butter on apple slices for a satisfying, protein-rich snack, or bake a cinnamon-sprinkled apple and serve with whipped cream or coconut cream for a healthy treat. Then there’s the ultimate favorite: the apple crisp.
Aside from the versatility of apples, they offer numerous health benefits. Recent research has demonstrated that the phytonutrients in apples, such as flavonoids and polyphenols, can help regulate blood sugar through inhibiting certain enzymes and lessening the absorption of glucose from the digestive tract. Apple polyphenols also stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to secrete insulin, aiding glucose uptake and improving blood sugar regulation.
Additionally, scientists have studied how apples positively impact the health of our microbiome. In studies on laboratory animals, apple intake significantly altered the amounts of two bacteria (Clostridiales and Bacteriodes) in the large intestine. As a result of these bacterial changes, the metabolism in the large intestine was also changed; increased butyric acid was produced, which supports the health and regeneration of the large intestine.
Topping the list of the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” of most pesticide-ridden produce, apples are typically sprayed with Permethrin and DDT so seek out organic apples whenever possible.
Here’s my take on the simple apple crisp, made with a topping of shredded coconut and almond flour; it takes only 10 minutes to put together and bakes for 35 – 45 minutes.
- 4 large or 5 – 6 small apples, thinly sliced
- juice from 1/2 of a lemon
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
For The Topping
- 1/4 cup melted, grass-fed butter (e.g. Kerrygold) or melted coconut oil
- 1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of sea salt
- 3 Tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350°. Slice the apples thinly and mix in a bowl with lemon juice, honey or maple syrup, and cinnamon. Mix together all of the topping ingredients. Arrange the apple mixture in a 2 quart baking dish, shallow pie plate, or 8”x8” pan. Sprinkle topping evenly over the apples. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the topping is browned and crispy but not burned. Serve warm with whipped cream or whipped coconut cream.
Still have apples leftover from your apple picking? Try this Sweet Potato & Apple Medley.