Love apples? You’re about to fall in love with the humble apple all over again when you read how good there are for you during the perimenopause.
Plus I share my delicious recipe for vegan apple crumble for the whole family!
Eating locally and seasonally is an easy way to harness powerful nutrients in fresh food that benefit your skin. In England, September and October is harvest time for apples.
With an abundance of apples at I Am Natural HQ this year, I’m reminded why they’re so great to eat (just the act of biting into a crunchy juicy apple cheers me up), and why eating them eases the symptoms of perimenopause. Plus they’re much more affordable than fancy pants exotic superfoods, and with a fraction of the air miles.
If your family, like mine, prefer cooked apples, then read to the end to check out my vegan recipe for humble apple crumble, a wonderful comfort dish for those cooler autumnal evenings, (thank god for cool evenings again).
The humble apple – a forgotten superfood!
Not only are apples cheap, local and seasonal, they’re also packed with antioxidant nutrients that will keep the doctor and your perimenopausal symptoms at bay. They are your local superfood!
Here a few reasons you should include them in your diet, especially when you are perimenopausal:
- Soothe digestion Gram for gram apples are one of the most fibre rich fruits in the world and are great for keeping your digestion running smoothly!
- Reduce bloat The pectin fibre in apple skin acts as a prebiotic to feed the good bacteria in your gut, helping to reduce bloat. Extra pectin is released when you bake apples – yippee!
- Slow ageing Apples contain Vitamin E and polyphenols (antioxidants) that protect your cells from damage, helping reduce the development of disease and the effect of ageing on the skin. High levels of antioxidants are also thought to support bone mass, something which can be affected as you head towards menopause.
- Ease depression, anxiety and inflammation via two antioxidants:
- Quercetin - this polyphenol antioxidant in apples helps regulate your immune system and reduce inflammation; great for aching stiff joints. It also acts as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, a natural anti-depressant, by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels. Wow!
- Vitamin C – there’s loads of it in apples and it’s essential for the production of progesterone, the hormone responsible for reducing anxiety and depression.
- Youthful skin Just one apple (with the peel on) gives 10% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C, whoop whoop! Vitamin C helps to build collagen and encourages the production of melanin, in turn helping to protect your skin from UV rays and keep it healthy, looking plumper and more youthful.
- Healthy strong hair With plenty of Vitamin B6 apples will help reduce hair thinning and promote hair shine. Vitamin B6 increases the flow of oxygenated blood to the hair follicle and scalp. This blood, full of oxygen, supports hair growth and hair revitalization.
- Hydrate dry skin If your skin feels dry then increase your potassium intake by eating apples; it will help your skin cells retain water and stay hydrated.
- Hot flushes Apples are 85% water, incredibly thirst quenching and cooling!
- Support weight maintenance If you’re reaching for the crisps when your hormones are ruling your brain, grab an apple instead. This low-glycemic index fruit is high in fibre and water. That means you feel full for longer and the sweetness will satiate your sweet tooth.
So put aside the expensive acai and maca superfoods and enjoy this affordable traditional seasonal recipe to feed your family, your skin and your soul!
Ingredients for Vegan Organic ‘Humble’ Apple Crumble
- 650g Organic apples (any variety. I like to include a couple of cooking apples for extra sweetness).
- 1 extra apple (for munching on while you cook).
- 50g Organic sugar*
- 100g Organic brown sugar*
- 100g Organic wholemeal flour
- 100g Organic plain white flour
- 100g Vegan margarine e.g Vitalite
- 25g Organic ground almonds
- 1 tsp Organic ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp Ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp Baking powder
*You can substitute sugar with naturally sweet alternatives such as maple syrup, coconut sugar, dates or raisins.
Gather your ingredients, a deep baking dish, scales and a tsp spoon. Pre-heat your oven to 180c degrees.
I like to start by preparing the crumble mix. Measure 100g of organic wholemeal flour into your scales. Add 100g of organic plain white flour. At this point you can also add the 1 tsp of baking powder.
To give the crumble a bit of texture (and to sneak in some extra healthy goodness for kids) add 25g of organic almonds to the flour mixture. I find it’s easier to grind up a bigger amount, approximately 100g and then save the remaining 75g in a Tupperware container to use in other recipes later.
Next, measure out 100g of vegan margarine. I like to use Vitalite but any sunflower based margarine will work. (Did you know I use food grade high oleic sunflower oil in several skincare formulations? It’s naturally high in Vitamin E and very gentle on sensitive skin).
Add the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, margarine, 100g of dark sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg altogether in one bowl. You are now ready to rub!
With clean dry hands rub the mixture together using your fingers tips until you have a crumbly consistency. It should be light and run through your fingers when done, like breadcrumbs. Put aside.
Next, weigh out your apples. Any apples will work in an apple crumble, use what you have. I like to use a mixture of Bramley cooking apples and eating apples.
Roughly peel and chop the apples into square chunks. (NB. If you want to retain more fibre and polyphenol antioxidants then don’t peel your apples, plus it saves time!) Transfer them to your baking dish. I use a glass baking dish and find there’s no need to grease it beforehand.
Sprinkle the 50g of sugar over the apples. I’ve used various types of sugar for this and it really doesn’t matter, just use what you have in your cupboard. If you want to reduce the amount of sugar you can even skip this part as the crumble topping will be very sweet.
Carefully add the crumble mixture to the chopped apple and pat it down a little to make it nice and firm. Place in your pre-heated oven at 180c degrees and cook for 35-40 minutes.
After 35-40 minutes your crumble will be ready. Make sure you don’t let the crumble mixture brown too much to avoid burning (mine was left a few minutes longer than it should have been, it still tasted great though!).
Serve while still hot with your favourite vegan ice cream, yoghurt or dessert. I’ve used a chocolate cashew cream which is similar to a chocolate custard. Everyone in my house loves it!
Finally, don’t forget to delegate the washing up to someone else!
Read more about food for skincare in the I Am Natural Vegan Beauty Journal.
Want to know more about apples and skincare? Read "How can Apple Cider Vinegar help your skin?"