The Health Benefits of Eating Cooked Apples

Baked apples stuffed with raisins and cinnamon on a wooden tray garnished with star anise and cinnamon sticks with a fresh slice of apple sitting in the background.

The benefits of cooked apples make them a good fruit choice. (Image: Kosta Manzhura via Dreamstime)

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is a well-known old saying. Apples are one of the most consumed fruits in the world, either in fresh or processed forms. They have become a staple dietary food in people’s daily life. So what are the health benefits of eating cooked apples? The question is: “Why is the humble apple so desirable?”

Apples have a high nutritional value and a sweetness that accommodates most taste buds. They are suitable for consumption by people of all ages since they are so beneficial for our body. Eating them often can provide a variety of nutrients, such as vitamins, trace elements, minerals, dietary fiber, and pectin. They can also improve one’s memory and promote immune function. What’s more, apples are a low-calorie food, so eating more of them will not lead to obesity. Eating apples regularly can help eliminate negative emotions thus aiding our overall happiness, which leads to improvements in quality of sleep and memory and also helps slow down the degeneration of brain functions.

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Most people eat apples raw and few know that cooked apples are equally tasty and provide some special health benefits.

Most people eat apples raw and few know that cooked apples are equally tasty and provide some special health benefits.
Most people eat apples raw and few know that cooked apples are equally tasty and provide some special health benefits. (Image: Anphotos via Dreamstime)

Benefits of eating cooked apples

Pectin is a unique fiber found in fruits and vegetables. It’s a soluble fiber known as a polysaccharide, which is a long chain of indigestible sugars. When heated in the presence of liquid, pectin expands and turns into a gel. 

The flesh of an apple contains both tannic acid and pectin. The richest amount of tannic acid is found in the skin while pectin is found more abundantly in the flesh near the apple skin. When a cooked apple is cut in half, a layer of light yellow material will be found near the skin. This is pectin.

The cooking process changes the pectin in apples to make it take on more astringent and antidiarrheal properties. The dietary fiber in turn acts as a laxative.

How cooked apples benefit the body

1. Help to stop diarrhea

After cooking, the absorption rate of the pectin increases thus acting to help stop diarrhea. The softness of cooked apples also makes them easier to eat and digest by the elderly and young children. It also benefits people with a weak stomach and frequent diarrhea. Therefore, when eating cooked apples, it is best to eat with the skin, so that the treatment of diarrhea will be more effective.

2. Help in regulating the body’s intestinal function

When the apple is heated, the dietary fiber and pectin will be softened thus making them easier to use by the body. Pectin can also stimulate the growth of probiotic flora in the intestine leading to better digestion as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory. This makes it particularly suitable for the elderly and frail as well as patients who have just undergone an operation. Cooked apples are softer and easier to eat for the elderly with dentures or bad teeth. 

The benefits of cooked apples make them a good fruit choice. Apples can be cooked alone or incorporated into another dish such as meat.

Pork stewed with apples and garnished with parsley in a ceramic pot sitting on a wooden surface surounded by shallots, garlic cloves, red apples, parsley, and two forks with a clear glass bottle of olive oil in the background.
Apples can be cooked alone or incorporated into another dish such as meat. (Image: Minadezhda via Dreamstime)

How to choose good apples?

  • Did you know that there are male and female apples? You can identify an apple as female if the top stem navel is large and deep.
  • The freshness of an apple is mainly identified by the color of the stem tip. If it is light green, this means it has been picked for a relatively short time, while yellow or dark brown indicates that it has been stored for a longer period of time.
  • Ripe apples have an aroma. If the aroma is too strong, that means the apple is overripe and should not be purchased.
  • In addition to possessing a glossy skin, apples that have a red-yellow gradation of color and fruit spots indicate a high degree of sweetness.
  • The larger the navel on the bottom of the apple, the sweeter it is. If the navel of the apple is darker in color this indicates that the apple will have a smaller core and fuller flesh.
  • To test the ripeness of an apple flick the surface with your fingers, if the apple makes a crisp sound, that means the apple is full of juice.

An apple with a smoother surface means it will be more acidic. Those with a rougher surface received more sunlight and this will produce a juicier and sweeter apple.

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