Think of apples as little multivitamins. They contain a lot of what your body needs to stay healthy. The benefits are plentiful, but here are three good ones to get you going!

3 Incredible Benefits of Apples

  • They Relieve Asthma: According to a study conducted in the UK, people who ate two or more apples a week were less likely to suffer from asthma. Why? The study suggests flavonoids (something apples are loaded with) as a possible reason. One flavonoid in particular called quercetin, is a strong antioxidant that helps to block the release of histimines that can trigger allergies - and asthma attacks.1
  • They Decrease Cholesterol: Eating an apple a day has been shown to drop serum cholesterol levels by eight to 11 percent. Eat two big apples a day and drop serum cholesterol up to 16 percent. Why? Pectin, a soluble fiber found in apples.
  • They Improved Iron Absorption: To absorb iron, your body needs vitamin C. Apple happens to be a great source of vitamin C, thus helps your body absorb iron better.

For me, one of the things I love most about fall is apples. Living in Chicago, apple orchards are only a car ride away - and well worth the hour+ trip. This afternoon, I made the trip  to Woodstock, Illinois, with my husband and two kids.  We were en route to an orchard recommended to us from a friend.  It was off the beaten path and we questioned whether or not we should stop at one of the dozen or so closer orchards we passed along the way. In the end we decided to stick with the plan. After 90 minutes in the car and two kids passed out sleeping in their car seats we arrived. As we pulled into the drive, a woman sitting in a chair, reading a book, got up and  walked up to our car. "We're closed on Sundays."  Come on! What apple orchard is closed on a Sunday? Given that the woman had an actual post next to the entrance, something told me that we weren't the only people showing up wondering what was going on.

We turned around and headed back to one of the orchards we passed along the way. It couldn't have worked out any better. Fifteen minutes later we pulled into Knoll's Apple Orchard and Vegetable Farm. We didn't have to pay to park, we could pick our own apples from a wide variety, and the cost per pound of apples was only $1.40. Perfect. We were given a rusty red Radio Flyer, a big wicker basket and sent on our way with a map of where specific varieties of apples grew.  About 14 pounds of apples later, we headed home.

What to do with 14 pounds of apples?

I'm sure I will make an apple pie or two, but I will also make PLENTY of apple sauce - something I became an expert at making before my kids ate solids. I wanted to experiment with flavors a little bit, so I decided to make stuffed apples. They actually turned out great, and passed the greatest test of five-year-old. Here is the recipe.

Cinnamon Almond Ricotta Stuffed Apples
Serves 8

8 Small to Medium Baking Apples (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Braeburn)
1 tsp. Coconut Oil or Butter
1 15oz  Container, Low Fat Ricotta
1 c. Apple Sauce
1/4 c. Honey or Maple Syrup (your choice...I used honey)*
1/4 c. Almond Meal**
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds

Preheat oven to 350. Wash, dry and core apples creating a 1 to 1 1/2" diameter. Line apples on a baking sheet and brush a little coconut oil or butter over the top of each apple. You don't need a lot. Discard what you don't use.  Place the apples in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the ricotta, apple sauce, honey, almond meal, and cinnamon until well-blended. After the apples are cooked, remove from oven and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon a generous amount of the mixture into each apple. Place back into the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle the top of each apple with a few sliced almonds. Enjoy!

*This recipe could easily be made less sweet, but equally delicious. If you'd like something a little less sweet, try adding half the honey or maple syrup first. See how it tastes. If you want more, add more.

**If you don't cook with almonds often, there is no need to go out and buy almond meal. Simply take a big handful of  the sliced almonds (or whole almonds, if you'd prefer), place them into a coffee grinder...and grind them down to almond meal. Easy enough.

1 Haas, E. M., & Levin, B. (2006).Staying healthy with nutrition: the complete guide to diet and nutritional medicine (21st-century ed.). Millbrae, CA: Celestial Arts.

Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.