Apples are certainly popular—ranking among the top three fruits produced around the world. They are easy to store and transport, and as a result, are typically available year-round in the U.S. In this piece, we’ll explore how apples may benefit health and the best types for baking versus munching straight off the core.
Apples are rich in quercetin and pectin, both of which are credited for supplying apples with their health benefits. Quercetin is a flavonoid, a type of naturally occurring plant chemical that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Pectin is a type of soluble fiber that may help prevent constipation and have a modest effect on lowering LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. Pectin is also fermented by beneficial bacteria in the colon, which produces short-chain fatty acids that may play a role in the prevention of chronic diseases, including certain cancers and bowel disorders.
Fresh, whole apples offer the most nutrients. Discarding the skin removes much of the fiber and the majority of flavonoids. Dehydrating or drying the apples removes vitamin C, which is predominantly in the flesh. In addition, sugar (along with extra calories) is often added to dried apples. Clear apple juice undergoes filtering and pasteurization, which removes most of the flavonoids and fibers.