If you have a few apples that you won't be able to eat before they go bad, turn them into applesauce and freeze it for later. Whether you like your applesauce plain or prefer to use it as an ingredient in sweet or savory recipes, you'll be getting some health benefits due to the fiber and phytochemicals it contains.
Each 1-cup serving of applesauce contains 102 calories and provides 2.7 grams of fiber, which is about 11 percent of the daily value of 25 grams. Fiber helps lower your risk for constipation, heart disease, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes. Although it isn't a particularly good source of any vitamins and minerals, applesauce does contain small amounts of many of these nutrients, including vitamin C and potassium.
Use as a Fat Replacement
When baking, applesauce makes a nutritious fat replacement. Add applesauce instead of any liquid fat, including oil or melted butter, and you will increase the fiber in your baked good while decreasing the fat. Start by replacing half of the fat before trying to replace it all. The applesauce will also help keep your baked goods moist. Unfortunately, this trick doesn't work well as a replacement for solid fats.
Apples provide high amounts of beneficial phytochemicals, including catechin, chlorogenic acid, phloridzin and quercetin, all of which act as antioxidants to prevent cell damage. These beneficial phytochemicals may lower your risk for asthma, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, according to an article published in "Advances in Nutrition" in September 2011. The content of beneficial polyphenols in applesauce is similar to that found in whole apples, according to a study published in "The Journal of Food Composition and Analysis" in 2011, so applesauce may provide many of the same benefits.
The healthiest type of applesauce is homemade, unsweetened applesauce made from unpeeled apples. Commercial applesauce is often made without the apple peel, which lowers the fiber and phytochemical content of the final product. Apple peel contains four to 15 times the amount of beneficial phytochemicals as the flesh, according to a study published in "The Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment" in 2009, so you don't want to leave it out. Adding cinnamon can help bring out the sweetness in your applesauce without added sugar. Cinnamon may also have health benefits, including lowering your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease and acting as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, according to an article published in "Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition" in October 2010.