The idea that an apple a day could keep a guy like me away is rooted in ancient beliefs that whole plant foods are powerful medicines. And this is the idea that stands behind our Baked Apples.
Mindful of the high pesticide burden of conventionally grown apples (1), we start with the highest quality fresh organic apples, add dried organic plums and spices, then slow roast them in a bath of unfiltered organic apple juice. What we end up with is a delicious dessert infused with a deeply intense apple flavor. This dish is always a hit when I make it for our farm potlucks so we think you’ll love it, too!
Want to learn more about “apples as medicine” and how they may help to protect us from colon cancer?
Plants can't run away from their enemies, and they can’t pick up a stick to beat them off. So Mother Nature has endowed plants with the special ability to defend themselves by manufacturing natural chemical weapons called phytochemicals. Plants use these phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients, to meet challenges in their environment, like warding off hungry insects, fighting diseases, and even to aid in reproduction. The amazing thing is that over millions of years of evolution, plant-eating humans have commandeered these special antioxidant molecules to fight our own diseases!
An important class of these phytonutrients is called polyphenols. In recent years we’ve discovered apples are loaded with a very unique combination of these polyphenols. It’s thought that these polyphenols may play a crucial role in helping to prevent a variety of chronic illnesses, from cardiovascular disease to cancer (2),(3),(4),(5).
One of the cancers we are most concerned about preventing in America is colorectal cancer. Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death (6). So it is exciting to find a study that looked at the effect of eating apples on the risk of developing colorectal cancer. The study showed that eating more than one apple per day was associated with a 50% reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer, while no other fruit was significantly associated with decreasing colorectal cancer risk (7). Perhaps this is because the polyphenols specific to apples are large molecules, particularly good at surviving digestion in the small intestine and are delivered intact to the colon, where they have their salubrious effect.
These same polyphenols are known to interfere with the initiation and growth of cancer cells in many different ways (5). So have another serving of our Baked Apples, and remember, it's more than just a delicious dessert... it's powerful medicine.
Decreasing the risk of colon cancer is just one important way we have discovered that apple polyphenols may help us. Every edible plant contains many natural compounds that are likely to benefit our health in a multitude of ways. That's why our dishes are designed to contain as large a variety of whole plant ingredients as possible.
Imagine if you were to combine many different whole plants into a complete diet... you would access a powerful nutritional symphony with many players, capable of preventing and reversing disease. So strive to eat a large variety of whole plant foods daily, because they all work in concert and in so many wonderful ways, to bring us good health.
- Ron Weiss, M.D.