Often considered a baby food, applesauce can actually be a nutritious addition to your grown-up diet, too. A simple carton of applesauce contains pureed apples and water, but there are numerous flavors and colors of applesauce on grocery store shelves. However, these might not be as healthy as the plain variety. In addition to tiny amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, most varieties of applesauce also contribute a small dose of protein to your diet.
Protein in Applesauce
One cup of applesauce with added sugar contains 0.39 grams of protein while the same serving of unsweetened applesauce supplies 0.41 grams. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, your diet should include 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds that you weigh. The amount of protein in applesauce provides is thus negligible in regard to recommended daily requirements.
Protein is a versatile nutrient that has several essential roles in your body. Because protein is present in each and every one of your cells, it's crucial for your survival. Without enough protein, your heart wouldn't beat right, your muscles wouldn't function normally and your brain wouldn't make connections as quickly as it should. Though applesauce can be part of your healthy eating plan, don't rely on it to boost your intake of protein. Lean meat, fish, beans, nuts, seeds and dairy foods are higher in protein and will help you get plenty of this key nutrient.
Additional Vitamins and Minerals
Applesauce isn't a good source of most nutrients, but it does contain fiber. One cup supplies about 3 grams of fiber, which is 12 percent of the minimum 25 grams women age 51 and younger need on a daily basis. Plenty of fiber keeps your digestive system working well, which promotes regular bowel movements. The same cup of applesauce delivers about 180 milligrams of potassium, which is only 4 percent of the 4,700 milligrams you need on a daily basis. One cup of applesauce also provides trace amounts of calcium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin A.
When you have a serving of applesauce, choose an unsweetened variety. A cup of sweetened applesauce can have as much as 10 grams, or 2.5 teaspoons, of added sugar. That's about 42 percent of the added 6 teaspoons women should limit themselves to each day, according to the MayoClinic.com. Have a serving of applesauce as a healthy snack or addition to a meal. Stir applesauce into oatmeal or yogurt to add flavor and nutrients. You might also chop a fresh apple into a serving of applesauce to boost the fiber content and to add vitamin C and potassium.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Applesauce, Canned, Sweetened, Without Salt (Includes USDA Commodity)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Applesauce, Canned, Unsweetened, Without Added Ascorbic Acid (Includes USDA Commodity)
- Harvard School of Public Health: Protein: Moving Closer to Center Stage
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.