It’s apple season, and apples are certainly DASH Diet-friendly (see sidebar). On top of all of the benefits of apples (fiber, vitamin C, A and folate), a new report (published in the October issue of the journal Food Chemistry) from scientists at Washington State University concluded that the nondigestible compounds in apples, especially the Granny Smith variety, may help prevent disorders associated with obesity.

Nondigestible fibers help keep our colons healthy, and tart, green Granny Smith apples seem to benefit the gut by supporting growth of friendly bacteria. Now this doesn’t mean that Granny Smith are the only kind of apples to eat; this study simply showed that they had the highest content of a particular fiber that was related to a healthy gut flora.

All apples are high in fiber and a healthy choice. The fiber in all apples can help lower your blood cholesterol, keep blood sugar in check and keep your gut healthy.

So how can you get more apples into your diet? Simple: 

- Cut up an apple every afternoon for a crunchy snack 

- Finely chop a small apple into your oatmeal before you cook it and let them cook with the oats 

- Add chopped apples to stuffing or pilafs 

- Serve sliced apples at your next party in addition to a veggie tray. Go ahead and dip them in a caramel dip — ‘tis the season! 

- Bake apples — core them and fill them with a brown sugar, raisin and nut mixture

- Enjoy warm applesauce as a side dish with pork or poultry dishes 

- Mix chopped apples into cole slaw or sauté chopped apples with cabbage.

What’s the DASH Diet?

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension — clinical trials that proved the diet reduces blood pressure. The DASH Diet is scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and is also appropriate for diabetes management as well as weight management. The basics:

- Focus on fruits and vegetables: Four to five servings of each daily

- Grains: Choose some whole grains, consume about six servings daily (one slice of whole grain bread, 1/2 cup oatmeal, brown rice barley, or whole wheat pasta equals one serving)

- Low fat or nonfat dairy: Two or three servings daily

- Lean meats, fish or poultry: Two or fewer servings daily (or six to eight ounces per day)

- Nuts and seeds: Four to five servings each week. Serving size is small, about two to five tablespoons.

- Healthy fats oils: Olive oil, peanut oil, canola oils (monounsaturated). Soybean, corn or sunflower oils (polyunsaturated). Avocados, olives, natural nut butters, spread margarines.

- Limited fats and sweets: Two or fewer small servings daily.

More information: Visit dummies.com/how-to/content/dash-diet-for-dummies-cheat-sheet.html.

Rosanne Rust, a local registered dietitian and author, can be contacted on Facebook by searching Rust Nutrition, on Twitter @rustnutrition, by emailing her at rosanne@rustnutrition.com or on her blog at chewthefacts.com. Her latest book “DASH Diet For Dummies,” is now available.

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