Why You Should Eat an Apple (or Two) a Day

Move over, apple pie. Try this apple cobbler recipe

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Have you ever wondered where the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," originated? Likely when an 1866 edition of Notes and Queries magazine published the saying: "Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread."

Eating apples may not cause your doctor to go out of business, but regular consumption of this fruit might prevent you from needing to visit as often. Apples could help boost your immune system, since they contain vitamin C and other antioxidants like quercetin, which may also protect brain cells against Alzheimer's disease. Apples are heart-healthy, too, as they contain soluble fibers and phenols, which help reduce cholesterol levels. Nicknamed "nature's toothbrush," this fruit shields teeth from decay-causing bacteria when chewed. And if you're experiencing diarrhea, the pectin in apples, especially in the form of applesauce, can curtail that uncomfortable gastrointestinal disturbance. Aside from their health benefits, apples are crunchy and delicious, thereby providing a satisfying snack that can halt hunger.

For some people, "apple" may conjure images of mobile phones and computers, but around my home, when the leaves hit the ground, we know that apples will make regular appearances on our menu.

Fall is the perfect season to create a family adventure by going apple picking and then enjoying the fruits of your labor by creating palate-pleasing recipes together. Although apple pie is an American favorite, this is a great time to try a tasty treat that packs fewer calories and is just as delicious.

I'd like to share my guilt-free family fave: apple cobbler. My version is made with whole-wheat pastry flour to add some whole-grain goodness and fiber. It only calls for a half stick of butter, and although I prefer the taste of butter, if you'd like to decrease your intake of saturated fat, you can use canola oil instead. Add some crunch by topping it with sliced almonds. As with any treat, though, be mindful of portion sizes.

Apple Cobbler

3 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced

3 cups Fuji apples, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon lemon zest

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour

½ stick butter, softened and cut into small pieces (or ¼ cup canola oil)

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup buttermilk (or ½ cup skim milk plus ½ teaspoon lemon juice)

1 egg or 2 egg whites

1 tablespoon toasted almond slices (optional)

1 tablespoon Turbinado sugar (optional)

1. Whisk flours together and set ¼ cup aside.

2. Mix the apples with brown sugar, lemon zest, cornstarch, and ¼ cup of the flour mix.

3. Whisk salt, baking powder, and sugar into the remaining flour.

4. Cut butter into dry ingredients until the mix resembles coarse cornmeal.

5. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and pour in buttermilk (or skim milk/lemon juice) and add egg or egg whites. Stir together quickly.

6. Spray a 9 x 12 x 2-inch pan with cooking spray and fill it with the apple mixture.

7. Top it with the flour mixture.

8. Sprinkle toasted almonds and Turbinado sugar evenly across the top (optional).

9. Bake at 400 degrees for around 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbly.

Hungry for more? Write to eatandrun@usnews.com with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, has been owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC, for more than three decades and she is the author of Read It Before You Eat It. As a renowned motivational speaker, author, media personality, and award-winning dietitian, Taub-Dix has found a way to communicate how to make sense of science. Her website is BetterThanDieting.com.