What's apples' secret? Bahram Arjmandi, PhD, RD, who led the study, believes one benefit comes from pectin, a powerful fiber that binds to cholesterol and sweeps it out of the body.
Eating two apples a day "does so much good in terms of cardiovascular health," he says. Arjmandi is the director of the Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Aging at Florida State University.
Any type of apple will do, as long as you eat them with the skin (a source of beneficial plant chemicals called polyphenols) and choose the freshest fruit, since pectin begins to break down in overly ripe apples. Arjmandi himself has a daily apple habit. He thinks men are likely to get the same cholesterol-lowering benefits. His core message? Get crunching.
This recipe pairs apples with roasted pork, a beloved fall combo. As an alternative to roasting, you can grill the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the meat registers 145 F.
Spiced Pork Tenderloin With Glazed Apples
Makes 4 servings
½ tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp mace
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 pork tenderloin, about 1¼ lbs
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
¼ cup apple juice or cider
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup maple syrup
2 large apples, such as Granny Smith, Gala, or Honeycrisp, peeled and cut into wedges
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
tbsp chopped fresh sage (can substitute rosemary or thyme)
1. Preheat oven to 450 F. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and spices, and sprinkle evenly over pork. Place pork in a roasting pan. Roast about 25 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 145ºF. Let rest at least five minutes before slicing.
2. While pork is roasting, coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Add butter and onion, and sauté onion until lightly browned.
3. In a small bowl combine apple juice, mustard, and syrup. Add sauce and apples to skillet and heat until apples are just tender. Add vinegar and sage, and serve apple mixture over sliced pork medallions.
287 calories, 27 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 8 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 90 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 23 g sugar, 404 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 24%
Spice of Life
This warming dessert features five-spice powder, a spicy-sweet Chinese seasoning made with cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns. Find it in the spice section of most large supermarkets, or use plain cinnamon instead.
Fall Apple Crisp
Makes 10 servings
3 lbs baking apples, such as
Granny Smith, Crispin, Pippin, or Braeburn, cored and sliced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1½ cups old-fashioned oats
¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (can substitute trans fat-free margarine)
½ cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds
¼ cup wheat germ
½ tsp salt
½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon zest, vanilla, brown sugar, cornstarch, and spice powder. Mix to coat apples. Pour into prepared pan.
3. Make topping: Combine oats, flours, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut butter into oat mixture until evenly distributed. Add nuts, wheat germ, salt, and spice powder. Spoon over fruit to cover.
4. Bake 45 minutes or until edges are bubbling and topping is golden brown.
5. Serve with vanilla frozen yogurt or whipped topping (not included in nutritional analysis).
321 calories, 8 g protein, 57 g carbohydrate, 8 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 6 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 25 g sugar, 123 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 22%
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