Apples are incredibly healthy and can provide you with a large range of benefits when consumed regularly. Fortunately, they also happen to be delicious and very versatile, which means they’re something that most of us can add to our diet without too much trouble. In fact, once you get a taste for fresh apple juice, apple sauce or smoothie you might find yourself wanting to get as much apple as possible!
But are all apples made equally? If you want the most nutritious apple, then which type should you eat? And what are the benefits that you can get from apple in the first place? Let’s take a look…
Before we answer the question ‘what is the healthiest apple’, let’s first take a look at some of those purported health benefits.
Apples can also boost the immune system thanks to the antioxidants and particularly the vitamin C content. This is what gave rise to the saying ‘an apple a day, keeps the doctor away’!
We now know that apples also contain an antioxidant called quercetin however. Studies show that this further helps to boost the immune system and especially if you are stressed. This is only true for red apples however.
While it’s unlikely that the humble apple is going to become the next big-selling gym supplement, it does actually hold some benefits when it comes to athletic performance. In particular, apples are very good at boosting recovery and this is thanks to their impressive vitamin C content which has been shown to boost muscle recovery, as well as preventing burnout and overtraining. When you combine this with the aforementioned quercetin from red apples, you get even more benefit!
Another way that this works is by keeping the amount of testosterone in the body high as compared with cortisol. Testosterone has a ton of health benefits (particularly for men) of course, but the testosterone to cortisol ratio is in particular a very good indicator of recovery.
Apple skin in particular is an excellent source of fiber – so if you’re having a smoothie make sure you add the skin too. This can help to improve your blood pressure, remove bad cholesterol and clear out the bowels to improve digestive health!
Oh, and that fiber is also actually quite good for your teeth while chewing apples has been shown to increase production of saliva.
This is a less-oft studied benefit, but consuming apples on a regular basis has been shown to increase levels of the all-important neurotransmitter (brain hormone) called acetylcholine. This is the main ‘stimulatory’ neurotransmitter of the brain that increases brain activity across all areas.
Mice that consumed apple juice regularly performed better in maze puzzles compared with those on regular diets and it may help with memory and brain function.
So, apples are good for you. Like, really good.
But which is the most nutritious apple?
According to a relatively recent study that was conducted by researchers at the University of Western Australia, the answer might be the Pink Lady variety. That’s in terms of antioxidant flavonoids at least.
What’s a flavonoid you ask? They’re essentially a large range of water-soluble nutritional compounds that come from plant based foods primarily. They are well known to be able to combat the damage caused by free radicals which in turn can help prevent a range of health issues.
The more antioxidant flavonoids you get in your diet, the more you can repair cell damage and inflammation.
Not all flavonoids are made the same either though. Some, like quercetin, are particularly effective when it comes to reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system. Quercetin is so effective at combating inflammation in fact, that it has been shown to combat allergic reactions in in-vitro studies.
Myricetin may help to inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Kaempferol reduces oxidative damage to the DNA in particular and is also anti-inflammatory. Epicatechin is a polyphenol that boosts brain function, encourages vasodilation and might even help to encourage muscle-building.
Chlorogenic acid may help with weight loss and improve glucose tolerance. Procyanidin B2 has special effects on the hair and can actually stimulate hair growth.
ALL of these are found in apples. They are especially abundant in pink lady apples and that’s why this is the healthiest apple. If you can’t find pink lady apples, then any red apples will generally be healthier than green apples. But all apples are good.
And note that there are other factors that will also contribute to which is the healthiest apple. For one, there’s the way the apple is grown and even the location. You can actually get nutrition from the soil! Note as well that it is probably best to seek out organic apples where possible. Much of the nutritional value in apples is found in the skin and just under it and as such, you need to make sure you’re not peeling your apples. Non-organic apples may have been sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers however, which means the skin might contain some minor toxins. Where possible, eat the whole apple but choose organic!
But however you eat them and whatever you do, consider that apples are super good for you. They might just improve your performance in the gym and at work, boost your energy levels and keep colds and illnesses at bay!