TMJ Diet: Stewed Apples & Pears
Biting into the skin of a hard apple or pear can be painful for those who suffer with TMJ pain or jaw pain. No need to give them up entirely. Cooking these fruits will soften and sweeten them up, making for a delicious and nutritious food experience that is pain-free. This simple healthy and delicious recipe will even appeal to those without jaw problems!
Did you know that there are over 100 varieties of apples? In the U.S., apples are harvested in the fall but are available year-round, due to the ability to store and easily transport them.
Apples are a source of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. They also contain vitamin C and a variety of phytochemicals. One medium-size apple has about 95 calories, 3 grams fiber, 0 fat, 1 gram protein and 25 grams carbohydrate of which 19 grams are from naturally occurring sugar.
Apples will remain fresh for one to two months when stored in the crisper drawer of the fridge. They will continue to ripen after harvesting and will emit some ethylene and help speed the ripening of other fruits if they are stored in the same bag or drawer.
Pears have been cultivated since ancient times and is thought to be of European decent. In the U.S., they are harvested from late summer into October. Their skins tend to be less tough than apple skins, but that also depends on the variety of pears. This makes pears a better choice than apples for those suffering with jaw pain and have trouble chewing. Bartlett pears, whether yellow have a delicate thin skin and a texture that’s juicy and soft.
Did you know that pears are hypoallergenic? Most people with severe food allergies can tolerate them. Pears are also a source of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. They contain calcium, iron, vitamin C, antioxidants and other nutrients, which support bone, heart and tissue health.
Unlike other fruits, pears ripen from the inside out and so they may seem perfect on the outside but can be meal on the inside if not harvested or handled properly. Store ripe pears in the fridge. Leave unripe pears at room temperature to induce ripening. When ripened and stored in the fridge, they’ll usually last for up to 10 days.
TMJ Recipe: Stewed Apples and Pears
Ingredients (choose organic when available):
- 3 medium apples of your choice, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 medium pears of your choice, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup (or 5 1/2 tablespoons) 100-percent natural apple juice (no sugar added)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- In a mixing bowl, combine apples and pears.
- In a separate bowl, whisk cornstarch, lemon juice, apple juice and spices.
- In a medium saucepan, over medium to low heat, add the fruit and then pour the cornstarch mixture over the fruit and mix well.
- Bring to a simmer and continue to stir until the sauce has thickened and the fruit has softened, about 6 minutes.
Serves 4. Makes 3 to 4 cups, depending on the size of the fruits used in the recipe.
Optional: Serve with organic low-fat vanilla yogurt
Stewing fruits is a jaw-friendly way to eat fresh fruits and still get the nutritional benefits. Cooking breaks down the fibers, which is helpful for those with jaw problems. You can leave the skin on or if you prefer, remove it. Leaving the skin on provides more fiber and nutrients.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 139 calories, 0 fat, 6 milligrams sodium, 281 milligrams potassium, 36 grams carbohydrates, 5.9 grams dietary fiber, 0.8 grams protein, 49 percent Daily Value of Vitamin C, 6 percent Daily Value of iron.