It’s a cliche, I know – but it seems an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.
According to a study conducted by the Canadian government (not the orchard lobby), apples can add a huge, health-boosting antioxidant punch to anyone’s diet. But not all apples are created equal, the study concludes.
If you’re going to have an apple a day make it a Red Delicious
America’s own Red Delicious apples were top of the antioxidant heap.
Popular breeds Macintosh and Golden Delicious were also ranked in the top five. But as with most everything, there’s a catch…
You have to eat the skins to get full the benefit. Though there are some of these powerful compounds in the juicy flesh of the fruit, the bulk of the antioxidants are contained in the skin – as much as six times more, in fact.
The whole study was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Among the study’s findings are that breeds of apples vary greatly in their antioxidant content – the top-seeded Red Delicious variety had more than six times as much as the lowest-ranked breed, Empire.
The article also speculated about whether this new-found antioxidant boost from apples will spur the apple industry to develop inventive new ways to extract these compounds from the skins (which are typically discarded for most applications, like pie-making and juicing), or if new genetic engineering technology will enable scientists to breed even more antioxidant-rich “super apples.”
Apple derived antioxidants bring health benefits
Only time will tell if there will be sufficient demand to justify these developments. If I had to place a bet today, I’d say there will be such a demand, and soon.
What’s my evidence for thinking this? Look at how the public’s awareness of the huge antioxidant content of red wine has grown over the last decade. For people who don’t drink wine or alcohol apple-derived antioxidants could really catch on.
Now, if only we could get schools to replace typical vending-machine and cafeteria fare like chips, chocolate bars, pastries, crackers and pretzels for nice, crunchy, shiny apples, we’d really be onto something…
But if they do anything, they’ll likely only swap out the Coke for apple juice – which is nothing more than sugar-water of a different type, and to be avoided at all costs.