What we all must have heard at least once during our childhoods is, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It might not be true to all extents, but considering how nutrient-rich and healthy apple is, the saying is true to an extent. Though apples originally come from Central Asia, they are popular all around the world alike.
From being steamed and pureed to be fed to the little munchkins just starting their semi-solid foods to being eaten raw and fresh by young and elderly alike, apples are the most nutrient-rich fruit that you can feed to your body. Apples are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and numerous antioxidants that help protect our bodies from countless illnesses and boost strong immunity.
This article contains everything you need to know about apples – specifically about their different types and the valuable health benefits they offer.
Types of Apples
As opposed to the selected variety you usually find at your grocery store, thousands of types of apples are grown all year round during different seasons. The apple orchards are almost always providing delicious apples according to the weather conditions. Some of the major types of apples are listed below.
1. Red Delicious Apple
This bright colored apple is among the sweetest of all the types. It is well-known for its amazing combination of a tad bit of tart flavor along with loads of sweetness. It is perfect for eating raw and also makes an amazing fruit salad. You can easily store it home for about 3-4 months.
2. Golden Delicious
These delicious golden apples are also very similar to the delicious red ones. Their flesh is crisp and tastes as sweet as honey. You can use these apples to make a scrumptious apple dessert or apple sauce. They also taste divine when eaten fresh and raw.
Gala apples also have a crisp and sweet flesh. These are one of the most common varieties of apples you will find at the grocery store. You can grab a Gala apple on your way to school, work, or even gym for fueling your body with healthy carbs and very few calories.
4. Rome Beauty
This type of apple is usually round and has a deep dark red-colored skin. Its flesh is crisp and cream-colored. Sometimes the skin of these apples is dotted. These are widely utilized in baking. They make excellent apple pies, sauces, or crumble.
Jazz is very sweet and delicious with a crunchy skin. The flesh of this type of apple is extremely juicy and is thus widely used for making smoothies and fresh juices. They are a cross between Gala and Braeburn apples.
6. Granny Smith
This variety of apple is the most commonly found one and is an all-time favorite for making desserts, such as pie or pudding. Also, granny smith apples have a mildly tart flavor combined with the sweetness in their flesh, which makes them perfect for fresh juices.
This variety is a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Jonathan apples. It was a successful experiment by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station located in Geneva. It is known for striking a perfect balance between tart and sweet. Also, Jonagold apples are widely used in baking because of their sweet aroma.
8. McIntosh Red
This variety of apples is originally a Canadian cultivar and also their national apple. It has red and green skin with soft white flesh inside. It also has a tart and sweet flavor. McIntosh apples are very juicy and tangy. They make yummiest fruit salad, apple pies, and sauces.
This variety of apples has a juicy and tender flesh with a crisp skin outside. They are very sweet and are considered to be originally from Japan. They are the descendants of red delicious and Ralls Janet, which date back to the 1700s. Fuji apples are best eaten raw and fresh right out of the tree or store.
Braeburn was an orchard near Motueka, where this variety of apple was initially cultivated commercially. It is sweet and tart in flavor and appears in various sizes, ranging from medium to large.
These apples have dark red skin that is firm. The crisp flesh of these apples is cream-colored and very juicy. This variety of apples has a perfectly balanced taste of tartness and sweetness. Moreover, they have a very distinct aroma and a wine-like flavor that makes them perfect for cooking. Winesap apples are usually commonly used for making cider.
For more information, check out our article on Everything about Winesap Apples.
This red and yellow colored variety of apples is a cross between Golden Delicious and Honeygold apples. It was also commercially cultivated at the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station’s Horticultural Research Center. Honeycrisp apples have yellow flesh, which is filled with a sweet and tart flavor. They are widely used for baking as well as eaten fresh.
This type of apples has a thin skin that is dark red with often a green tinge. The inside of these apples is cream-colored and crisp. Jonathan apples are slightly tart, which makes them perfect for making apple cider and sauces.
Quick Tips for Buying and Storing the Apples
So now that we have sufficient knowledge about the various types of apples, it is also important to know how to select and store the apples that you get from the store or the farmer’s market near you.
- Best quality apples are the ones that are firm when you hold them and have clean skin without brown patches. Depending on the variety of apple you are going for, you must weigh the apple with your hand to test its firmness.
- Soft apples are mostly the overripe ones.
- Apples can stay good and fresh for a long time if you refrigerate them. This helps preserve their texture and the original flavor.
- One important thing about storing any variety of apples is to avoid storing them in a dark hidden place.
- Also, one bad apple can destroy a whole bunch of them. So, do not hesitate to separate the one that looks even slightly bad to you.
Nutrients that Apples Have in Store for Us
One fresh, unpeeled apple of medium size, weighing about 100 grams, provides us with the following nutrients:
- 52 calories
- Extremely high water content (about 86%)
- 3g of protein
- 4g of natural sugar
- 8g of carbs
- 4g of fiber
- And 0.2g of fat
Apples are a significant source of carbs and water. They have large amounts of simple sugar that are good for our bodies, such as fructose, glucose, and sucrose. According to the University of Sydney’s research on the Glycemic Index (GI) of foods containing carbs, foods that have a lower GI are less likely to cause high glucose levels in the blood.
Apples have a GI ranging in between 29-44, which implies that even being a significant source of carbohydrate and sugar, apples are not harmful to our health at all. Also, apples have a fiber content; thus, making them quite beneficial for us.
Apples also boost a rich supply of some of the essential minerals and vitamins to our bodies. Vitamin C is one of the key nutrients in apples and is also known as ascorbic acid. It is an amazing antioxidant that helps get rid of damaging free radicals from our bodies.
Apples also contain a significant amount of potassium that helps boost the health of the heart. It helps regulate the body fluid balance and thus keeps the heart from overworking and tiring itself out. Other critical plant compounds present in apples that make them beneficial for us include quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid.
While quercetin is an important plant compound that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in our bodies, it has also shown promising prospects in fighting off depression and even cancer, according to animal studies. Catechin is also an effective antioxidant mostly found in green tea. It is found to have significant positive impacts on the brain and muscle functions. Lastly, chlorogenic acid is also under investigation for being an active agent in lowering the blood sugar levels and helping weight loss in a few cases.
Health Benefits of Apples
- May Help in Weight Loss
One of the most important health benefits of apples is related to how apples are considered to be aiding weight-loss plans. Apples have an incredibly high amount of fiber and calories. The fiber in the apples is said to slow down the digestion process so that you feel full for a longer time while the calories help you get the energy you need.
Apples are deemed very helpful in reducing calorie intake during a weight-loss diet. Results of a study found that women who ate about 1.5 large-sized apples daily (about 300g) had successfully lost up to 2.9 pounds (1.3kg) in 12 weeks. Therefore, incorporating apples in your diet is quite helpful in reducing weight, especially if consumed between the meals.
- Helps in Regulating Blood Sugar Levels
Apples have a rich supply of antioxidants that slow down the digestion. This is mostly attributed to the natural phenolic compounds that we get from the apples. These compounds are said to have a notable impact on the plasma glucose concentrations and insulin levels.
The slowed digestion of sugar helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels; thus, helping in controlling type-2 diabetes. A large study comprising of about 38,018 women participants revealed that consuming an apple a day is significantly related to lowering type-2 diabetes risk.
- Aids in Reducing the Risk of High Cholesterol and Heart Disease
An analysis of human and animal studies with regards to consuming apples and our heart health shows promising prospects. An animal study ascertained that eating apples helps in preventing arterial blockage – which is one of the leading causes of heart disease.
Moreover, a research study carried out in Finland revealed that consumption of about 1.9 ounces (54g) of apples daily helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, the research explained that consuming this quantity of apples daily helped lower the risk of dying from heart disease in women by 43% and in men by 19%.
- Apples May Help Fight Cancer
Research on animal subjects revealed that phytonutrients in apples could significantly help in combating lung and colon cancer. These studies found the link between the oligomericprocyanidins in apples and their juice to be linked to lowering the risk of developing cancer.
Apples are also deemed highly effective and significant in lowering the risk of colorectal and breast cancers in humans by 20% and 18%, respectively.
- Promotes Gut Health
Apples are rich in a type of fiber called pectin. This fiber is considered a prebiotic, meaning it is highly beneficial for the good gut bacteria. Fiber is not digested and absorbed in the small intestine; rather, it gets passed on to the colon, where it feeds the good gut bacteria. This helps make use of every beneficial compound that you feed your body.
- Good For the Health of our Bones
Apples are also considered to be highly beneficial for our bones. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the apples help promote our bone density, which in turn is critical for our bone health. According to a study, people who consume apples daily have significantly less loss of calcium from their bodies than the ones who do not consume apples.
Apples are one of the most beneficial fruits that we can consume for the sake of promoting good health. Apples are incredibly beneficial in preventing type-2 diabetes and heart disease. They are an excellent addition in a weight-loss diet as they are rich in fibers, calories, and high water content. The peel of the apples is also highly nutritious. Apples are great for promoting healthy skin and bone structure. Ideally, you should taketwo cups of apples daily for obtaining the most of its benefits.