Fiona Lawson | 27 Aug 2019 | Gut Health

Stewed Apples for Gut Health

You’ve heard about bone broth for gut health, but what about stewed apples? Read on to discover the benefits of this simple dish, plus how to make it.

Contents

Are cooked apples as healthy as raw?
Is it better to cook apples with the skin on?
Are stewed apples good for constipation?
Are cooked apples easy to digest?
Are stewed apples acidic?
How do you make stewed apples?

Are cooked apples as healthy as raw?

Both cooked and raw apples are healthy, but stewed apples can be particularly helpful for gut health.

Let’s consider at raw apples first. By eating these, you benefit from nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium. You may even enjoy greater overall health, since a review of studies found that eating apples was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, asthma and type-2 diabetes.1

But cooked apples have an extra benefit: gut-healing pectin. This special form of fibre is released during the stewing process, and new evidence suggests that it may help to repair and maintain the intestinal mucosa lining.2 One animal study found that pectin can help to:

· Modulate gut bacteria

· Get rid of toxins in the gut

· Reduce inflammation3

Even though pectin is present in raw apples too, its effect is more pronounced when the apples are cooked. You know you’ve released a gut-healing level of pectin when stewed apples develop a gel-like sheen.

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Is it better to cook apples with the skin on?

You’ll still get a good dose of pectin if you peel the apples, but you may miss out on other nutrients that can help with gut healing if you get rid of the skin.

Apple skin is full of minerals, fibre and special plant compounds called polyphenols.4 One of these, quercetin, is known to have anti-inflammatory effects.5

If you do decide to leave the skin on, it’s best to choose organic apples. This is because conventionally grown apples tend to have pesticide residues on the skin.
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Are stewed apples good for constipation?

Stewed apples can help to alleviate constipation because they’re full of fibre. The insoluble fibre increases bulk in the stools, while the soluble fibre increases water content. Together, these help stools to move through the digestive system at a healthy pace.6

Stewed apples may also improve dysbiosis, which further supports good digestion.7
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Are cooked apples easy to digest?

Cooked apples are easy to digest because the stewing has already partially broken them down. If you’ve cooked them without the skin, they’re even more digestible.

The only exception to this is if you’re following a low-FODMAP diet for SIBO, dysbiosis or IBS. Apples are high in FODMAPs, which means they can cause bloating and digestive discomfort in some people. If this applies to you, wait until the reintroduction stage of your low-FODMAP diet before you try stewed apples.

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Are stewed apples acidic?

Apples have a pH of between 3 and 4, which means they’re acidic.8 They remain acidic when they’re stewed.

But that doesn’t mean they have an ‘acidic’ effect in your body. Your blood has consistent pH of 7.35–7.45. This pH is tightly controlled and cannot be changed by food.
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How do you make stewed apples?

Making stewed apples is easy. Here’s what you need:

6 apples
½ cup water
2 tsp cinnamon
Optional: ½ cup raisins

Here’s what to do:

1. Peel and core the apples, and chop them into bite-sized pieces.

2. Put all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Cover, and cook for 15–30 minutes, stirring occasionally. They’re ready when the apple pieces are soft, and the mixture has a gel-like sheen.

Stewed apples can be enjoyed hot or cold, and they’ll last up to a week in the fridge. Aim to eat at least two tablespoons daily.
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Author

Fiona Lawson BA (Hons) DipCNM mBANT is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and health writer. She is a member of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) and the
Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). As Content Director of Healthpath, Fiona is on a mission to help people take charge of their own health. Read more about Fiona on her practitioner page.

References

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC442131/
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1852091
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808856/pdf/nutrients-08-00126.pdf
4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20722929
5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808895/
6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3544045/
7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20304079
8 https://www.clemson.edu/extension/food/food2market/documents/ph_of_common_foods.pdf

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