Perhaps the old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” isn’t so far-fetched—well, at least if you bump it up to two fruits daily.

In a joint randomized controlled study between researchers in Italy and England, 40 participants with mild hypercholesterolemia who consumed two apples daily for 60 days experienced modest improvements in a handful of cardiovascular disease risk factors, including reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels and an increase in microvascular vasodilation. Participants who consumed a calorie-matched beverage instead of the apples saw no improvements.

The dynamic duo of polyphenol antioxidants and soluble fiber pectin in the crispy fall fruit are likely behind these ticker-friendly benefits. That makes this sweet and savory dish a dinner meal your heart will love.

3 medium-sized apples, chopped

1 C chopped dried figs or dried plums

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 t honey

2 t fresh thyme

1 t brown mustard seeds (optional)

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t ground cloves

2 t lemon zest

4 6-oz chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

1/2 t salt

Combine apples, figs or plums, shallot, honey, thyme, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon zest in a medium-sized saucepan. Place over medium heat until apples begin to sizzle, reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until apple has softened considerably. To poach chicken, place breasts and salt in a pot large enough that they lie flat in one layer, then add enough water to completely cover the meat by about 1 inch. Bring water to a very slight simmer with just a few bubbles breaking the surface, reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until meat is cooked through. Slice chicken breasts and serve topped with apple chutney. Makes four servings.

See also: Recipe For Health: Apple Masala Chai Muesli