Will an apple a day keep the Doctor away for women during their menopause transition? If we follow the research on the effect of a whole apple (including the skin) on our gut microbiome, then yes, we may well help our health as we move through menopause.
Apples are one of the most highly consumed fruits in the world and I try to have one nearly every day. This salad has apples in it as well as a type of lettuce available in Europe called ‘Lamb’s Lettuce’. How it got that name I have no idea, but this winter green which I found whilst over in Europe, is a delicious and ideal addition to a meal for menopausal women!
Lamb’s Lettuce is packed with beta-carotene, potassium, Vitamin B9, and fibre, it turns a simple salad into a nutrient-rich dish for women in their menopause transition.
Furthermore, this winter salad which I’ve made with lettuce, celery, avocado, apple and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and lemon, is a wonderful meal that your gut microbiome will love!
Apples represent the most important dietary source for various flavonoids in our diets, and research suggests that apples offer a beneficial impact on human health. [Wasserman et al, 2019].
Apples are a rich source of polyphenols and fibre. Their role in gut health is due to a major proportion of the apple polyphenols escaping absorption in the small intestine and moving towards the colon, where they serve as substrates for bacterial fermentation. [Koutsas et al, 2017]
But there is more to apples and improved midlife health and this is because they are a great source of the anti-inflammatory nutrient, called Quercetin.
I’ve written about this nutrient in the past, especially in relation to our immune health.
“Apples are a widely consumed, rich source of phytochemicals, and epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes. In the laboratory, apples have been found to have very strong antioxidant activity, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation, and lower cholesterol.” [Boyer & Hai Liu, 2004].
It’s the skin of apples that contains the most quercetin, which is just one anti-inflammatory nutrient that you will benefit from daily.
The skin of apples also has the most cholesterol and fat-lowering constituents. When my weight and LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad one) reached an all-time high in my early 50s, I learnt about apples and apple skin and how beneficial apples were for liver and cardiovascular health.
For those of you who wish to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, reduce risk of cancer, manage diabetes and reduce liver fat, then how about you chomp on at least 2 small apples a day? You can stew them as well (no added sugar) and have them with your morning oats or make a simple salad as I did today.
The research on the role of apples in the human diet was enough to convince me to add at least 1-2 apples a day when my health was at its worst. I hope I can convince you to eat them daily too.
Not only did I make apples the base for any juicing, but I would eat them whole. They became my afternoon snack along with celery sticks and peanut butter. I also cut them up to take on hikes and I add chopped apples with the skin on to salads now too.
We often think that food and cooking has to be complicated, but it doesn’t at all. So, with apples at the core of our gut health, I hope you can make this simple salad sometime.
The MyMT™ Kitchen: Lettuce, Apple and Celery Salad
(This serves 4 adults as a side salad for dinner, but you can add greater amounts of the ingredients to this salad to suit the number of people at your table).
- 2-3 cups of chopped Lettuce (I sourced organic Lamb’s Lettuce whilst in Europe recently).
- 2 stalks of celery chopped
- 2 small apples chopped
- 1/2 avocado chopped
- 1/2 cup of sultanas
- 1/2 cup of almonds chopped.
Put all ingredients into a salad bowl and toss together.
- 1 small lemon freshly squeezed
- 1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Blend together and toss through the salad just before serving. Bon appetit.
Koutsos A, Lima M, Conterno L, Gasperotti M, Bianchi M, Fava F, Vrhovsek U, Lovegrove JA, Tuohy KM. Effects of Commercial Apple Varieties on Human Gut Microbiota Composition and Metabolic Output Using an In Vitro Colonic Model. Nutrients. 2017 May 24;9(6):533.
Li Y, Yao J, Han C, Yang J, Chaudhry MT, Wang S, Liu H, Yin Y. Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity. Nutrients. 2016 Mar 15;8(3):167.
Wassermann B., Müller H., Berg G. (2019). An Apple a Day: Which Bacteria Do We Eat With Organic and Conventional Apples? Frontiers in Microbiology, 10.