Global Health Asia-Pacific Special Issue | Page 20

Holistic Health

Which apple is the healthiest ?

Differences are small and all make a healthy choice

The popular saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away hints at its undeniable health potential , but so many apples are often available at the grocery store that you may wonder if one of them is packed with better nutrients than the others .

The short answer is that there are some nutritional differences among apples , but these aren ’ t likely to have a significant effect on your health .
Red Delicious apples , for instance , contain a type of polyphenol that is only found in red fruits . This group of substances may help prevent cancer , heart disease , and other conditions .
An Australian study analysed several apple types and identified the varieties with the highest polyphenol content . “ Our analysis found that the Pink Lady variety contained the most polyphenols ,” Dr Nicky Bondonno , research fellow at Edith Cowan University and a study author , told The West Australian . However , the researchers also discovered that simply eating that variety doesn ’ t necessarily benefit consumers more . “ Interestingly , we found a very large variation between people in the level of polyphenol compounds in the blood . This indicates that there is a difference in how people absorb and break down these compounds and that the beneficial effects of apples on health may differ from person to person ,” she said .
If red apples aren ’ t your cup of tea and you ’ d rather munch on green ones , you may find solace in the fact that the common green variety called Granny Smith has less sugar than the average apple , though this doesn ’ t make non-green apples unhealthy .
“ A Granny Smith apple has about 16 grams of sugar ,” registered dietician nutritionist Karen Ansel told Huffpost . “ A typical apple has 19 grams of sugar . Three additional grams of naturally occurring fruit sugar truly is not that big a deal . I ’ d much rather see people decrease their sugar intake by eating fewer highly processed foods rather than worrying about a few grams of sugar between varieties of apples .”
Other experts agree that people shouldn ’ t worry about which apple is the healthiest as all of them can provide nutritional benefits , while they should simply make eating any kind of apple a habit by following their taste buds .
“ Eat the apples you like because they ’ re all healthy ,”
said dietician Mira Ilic on the Cleveland Clinic ’ s website .
One reason is the amount of fibres , the nutritional powerhouses that abound in all kinds of apples . “ One apple has 10 percent of the daily value recommended for fiber , and that ’ s also helpful in lowering cholesterol , regulating the digestive system and preventing cancer ,” said registered dietician Barbara Ruhs to the Huffpost .
Experts also advise to pick fresh apples as their nutritional value decreases over time . “ After three months of storage , apples lose a significant amount of the micronutrient polyphenols ,” registered dietician nutritionist Amy Gorin advised in the Huffpost .
It ’ s also a good practice to eat them unpeeled because many nutrients are found in the skin . “ If you want to get all of the health benefits of eating apples , you ’ ve got to eat the whole thing ,” said Dr Bondonno .
People should give apples a thorough scrub and clean them with water before eating them in order to remove potential residues of pesticides and fertilisers .
Experts also advise to pick fresh apples as their nutritional value decreases over time .
18 ISSUE 6 | 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com