Yesterday, when I entered a store, I was startled by a witch dressed in black trying to hand me a black apple! No, she wasn’t real, but she caught me off guard because I haven’t even thought about Halloween yet, even though the leaves are starting to turn bright yellow. Fall is my favorite time of year, I love the colorful leaves, pumpkins and fresh apples! Since fresh apples in New England are in abundance this time of year, I thought I would buy a basket of them. But I wasn’t sure what kind to choose, I just wanted some to eat raw.
You probably have a favorite that you enjoy, but do you know which kind of apple has the greatest antioxidants?
Antioxidants in Apples
Some people remove the skin before they eat apples, but there is a good reason why taking a big bite right into the skin gives you the most health benefits. This is because most of the antioxidants are found in the skin or just below the skin.
The antioxidants in apples are due to the polyphenols. These antioxidants are beneficial because they neutralize free radicals that can damage cells and cell tissue. Also, the antioxidants and nutrients in apples have been found to slow aging, prevent cancer, reduce asthma, help with allergies and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Although apples have less antioxidants than many types of berries, they are chosen more often than berries and are a great way to get these health benefits.
So what apples are highest in antioxidants? According to a study by G.M. Huber at the Society for Food Science and Technology (2009) apples were rated from 1 to 12 with the best apple, crab apple at the number one spot for the most antioxidants.
1. Crab apple – Most antioxidants in this group
2. Ida red
3. Red delicious
4. Honey crisp
5. Granny Smith
9. Golden delicious
12. Golden nugget – Least antioxidants in this group
*Although this study found which apple had the most antioxidants in the group, this does not take into account that nutrients and antioxidants may be better absorbed in certain varieties of apples.
Apples and Fiber
Apples are also a great way to get soluble fiber! In addition to moderating blood glucose levels and lowering cholesterol, researchers have found that the soluble fiber in apples is beneficial to the immune system! Apples, also contain insoluble fiber, the fiber that passes through the digestive system in nearly the original form, which also has benefits such as aiding constipation. However, some sensitive people or people that have IBS may have problems with this type of fiber. It may be beneficial for these people to peel the apple or even cook the apple for easier digestion.
Why Wash Apples?
Conventionally Grown Apples (Best to avoid these)
Would you pick a nice shiny apple or a dull one? I hoped you picked the dull one because many apples that shine have a wax coating on their skin to make them more appealing in the supermarket and prolong their shelf life. Apples that are not organic are also sprayed heavily with chemicals and pesticides, over 40 different kinds, many of which are neurotoxins, which have been found to cause brain damage. That’s why apples that are not organic are on the “dirty dozen list”. These chemicals remain even after you wash and peel the apple!
This is why you should only buy organic apples.
If it’s Organic Why do I Have to Wash it?
One reason to wash the apples is that although chemical pesticide use is restricted by the USDA, organic apples still may be treated using organic “pesticides” from naturally occurring substances. Additionally, pesticides may have blown from another field, be in soil or even be present at packaging. That’s why it’s good to get local apples because you know where they came from.
This year, you also may want to consider that organically produced apples can be sprayed with antibiotics to reduce fire blight. This means you may be ingesting tetracycline and streptomycin. However, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has received petitions against this and ABC news (April 2013) reported this was stopping by Oct. 2014 (not soon enough).
Another important reason to wash your organic apples is because of germs and bacterial contamination. For example, E. coli, has been found on organic lettuce and this doesn’t mean it could never be on apples. You don’t know if cows grazed in the apple orchard or if apples may have come in contact with cow manure.
How to Wash Apples
Place the apples in a bowl and add warm water with some white vinegar. Let them soak for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse.
My favorite apple is Granny Smith? What’s yours?