Low GI Food of the Month

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Eat to beat cholesterol with apples
With high cholesterol a serious problem for many people with diabetes, we asked dietitian Nicole Senior, author of Eat to Beat Cholesterol, to explain why there’s a lot of truth behind the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away and how you can enjoy more of these heart-friendly fruits.

Nicole Senior

‘Apples deserve star billing for helping to lower cholesterol and keep the heart healthy,’ she said. ‘Red, green or somewhere in between, eat apples for enjoyment and for their many health benefits. They have a low GI (38) and a relatively low energy density, or kilojoules (calories) per gram. In effect they fill you up without being fattening. And their special combination of phytochemicals has been shown to reduce the oxidation of cholesterol, the process that contributes to hardening of the arteries. How can you get more? Well, fresh is best to maximise nutrients and phytochemicals, however variety is the spice of life and apples are delicious baked, dried, canned and juiced. Apple juice usually has the goodness of the fibre removed, so pick whole apples rather than juice most of the time.

  • Add chopped apple to traditional oat porridge with a little cinnamon and honey.
  • Top hot fruit toast with unsaturated margarine spread, cinnamon, sugar and sliced fresh apple.
  • Add quartered green apple to a platter with low-fat ricotta dip, oven-baked pita chips, dates and dried apricots
  • Saute sliced apple with cabbage as a side dish – serve with hot and cold white meats.
  • Add chopped apple to curries, such as beef, lamb, chicken, vegetable or chickpea curry.’

Eat to Beat Cholesterol is a book that will help you tip the balance towards a healthy heart as you discover the wonderful world of heart (and diabetes) friendly foods. There are around 100 recipes with nutrition information (including low and moderate GI recipes), heaps of made-in-minutes quickies, shopping and cooking tips plus meal plans including a ‘snatch and grab’ plan of assemblages and healthy takeaways for the time-poor.

Click on the book cover to buy

Apples topped with scrunched filo and maple syrup glazed Brazil nuts
Enjoy your apple a day with this high fibre, low-medium GI dessert. The secret is in the gentle cooking of the apples.
Preparation time: 15 minutes; Cooking time: 40 minutes; Serves 2


2 x 200 g/7 oz cooking apples
2 teaspoons salt-reduced margarine spread
4 teaspoons 100% pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml/2 fl oz) water
6 small brazil nuts
1 sheet commercial filo pastry, chilled
A little icing sugar for sifting (about ¼–½ teaspoon)

  1. Preheat oven to moderate180°C/350°F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Peel, core and slice each apple into 12 wedges.
  3. Heat the margarine spread in a non-stick frying pan over a low heat and arrange the apples in the pan in a single layer. Pour over 2 teaspoons of the maple syrup and the lemon juice. Cook the apples, moving them around to cook evenly and turning only once, for 35 minutes or until golden and tender. Add a little water during cooking if needed.
  4. Place the water and the other 2 teaspoons of maple syrup in a small non-stick pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the brazil nuts and continue to boil until the sauce has almost evaporated (be careful not to let it boil dry) and the nuts are glazed, 2–3 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Cut the sheet of filo pastry in half and scrunch each half up roughly. Place on the prepared baking tray and sift a little icing sugar on to each pastry piece. Bake for 1–2 minutes or until the filo is light golden.
  6. Arrange the apple on serving plates with the filo and brazil nuts on top.

Nutrition analysis per serve
Energy 997 kJ/238 Cal; 11 g fat (includes saturated fat 2 g); 4 g fibre; 3 g protein; 35 g carbohydrate