We’ve all heard the saying: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Whole fruit is a favorite SuperHero food in our household—we always prefer them over fruit juice. Plus, whole fruits, including apples, provide a lot of beneficial fiber and nutrients for our bodies. This stewed apples recipe takes that old adage a step further. Cooked apples have fiber that is easier to digest and more accessible to the healthy bacteria in our gut.
The best part about this recipe is that it is so simple. My kids love to eat these apples as a side to any meal or with homemade ice cream. They also pair well with homemade pancakes, and I love to eat them on top of plain full-fat yogurt with a general sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut.
What’s the hype about gut health?
Gut health impacts nearly every system in our bodies, playing an important role in our immune system function and mental health. Our large intestine and gut has immune cells and microbes that regulate our hormones, like serotonin, which can influence our mood and nervous system responses. Eating foods that support these beneficial gut microbes helps so many elements of our health!
It’s important to note that non-organic produce can negatively impact gut health because of glyphosate residue. Choose organic produce whenever possible, especially when focusing on improving gut health.
How are stewed apples good for our gut?
When we cook apples, it generates another type of fiber called pectin. This type of fiber feeds different strains of important bacteria in our gut. Soluble fiber is a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the friendly bacteria in our gut. Much of our digestive system functions are made possible by the millions of bacteria living in our mouths, intestines, and everywhere else. Feeding these healthy bacteria with prebiotic-rich foods can have a significant impact on our overall health.
Stewed apples also contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are a class of compounds found in plants that have many beneficial properties like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective activities. Polyphenols also contribute to the growth of healthy bacteria in our gut, and they can inhibit the growth of bad bacteria.
Research shows that eating two apples a day can increase the amount of the healthy types of bacteria that can regulate a leaky gut and help increase the absorption of key minerals. Additionally, apple skins contain an abundance of minerals, so leave the skin on!
Overall, stewed apples can be a simple, easy way to support our kids’ gut health. Plus, they are delicious and easy to make.
Skip the probiotic pills
In our family, we don’t take probiotics regularly. There are trillions of different bacteria in our bodies, and we interact with countless more in our environment every single day. Rather than taking a pill containing a handful of beneficial bacteria (which may not even be very fresh depending on the quality of the supplement and how it was stored), we simply eat a varied diet.
By consuming a variety of whole, fresh foods and including fermented foods—like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, or kefir—we regularly introduce probiotics and prebiotics to our system. I also find that it’s much easier to feed my kids yogurt, stewed apples, and vegetables than getting them to take a pill every day.
- 5 small organic apples or 4 medium organic apples (whatever type you like)
- 1 tsp organic cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup filtered water
- Wash the apples.
- Cut the apples into ½ to 1-inch pieces.
- Place apples into a pan.
- Sprinkle it with cinnamon, vanilla, and water.
- Heat the pan on low and simmer the apples for about 15-20 minutes, until the water is absorbed completely.
- Eat warm or store in a covered glass container for up to 4 days.