Apples are a portable, low-calorie snack, loaded with nutrients. But you might be surprised to learn they add an extra punch when it comes to colon cancer prevention, said Karla Arrigoni, Marshfield Clinic dietitian.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, in several large-scale human studies that looked at apple consumption and cancer incidence, eating one or more apples daily was shown to lower the risk for lung and colon cancer. How? Apples rank among the highest in phytochemicals such as flavonoids, with peels having a stronger antioxidant activity than apple flesh. These and other phytochemicals in plant foods are beneficial to:
- Protect cells from cancer-inducing oxidative damage.
- Prevent the start of cancer growth.
- Stop continued tumor growth.
- Promote cancer cell death.
Besides being a crunchy and tasty snack, apples are low in calories and provide up to 4 grams of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, Arrigoni said. The soluble fiber (pectin) helps prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls. The insoluble fiber provides bulk, which helps move food through the digestive system. Apples are sodium-free. They provide vitamin C and potassium.
Enjoy them fresh, or try a new recipe such as the one below, with an extra boost of fiber from oats.
Apple Pie Granola Bars
Makes: 20 bars
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/3 cup dates
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup dried apples, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Place the oats in a blender or food processor and pulse for 5 to 10 seconds.
On a baking sheet, combine the oats, shredded coconut and pecans and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes to ensure mixture does not burn. Once golden in color, remove from the oven.
Place the dates in food processor and blend until they fully combine and form a paste-like consistency.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine the coconut oil, honey and vanilla. As the liquid heats up, begin to stir the date paste until it becomes well-combined with the mixture.
In a bowl, combine the toasted oat mixture, chopped apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and hot liquid from the stove. Stir until completely mixed.
Firmly press the mixture into a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or until bars become firm.
Remove from the fridge and cut into 20 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for more crumbly bars, or in the fridge for firmer bars.
Each serving (one bar) contains about: 155 calories; 8 g fat (5 g sat); 19 g carbs; 3 mg sodium; 3 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 3 g protein.