Canadian researchers found that certain types of apples have much higher levels of antioxidants than other types. Red Delicious apples had the highest levels of polyphenols, which are natural chemicals that cause tissue to contract, compared to Empire apples, which had half the antioxidant activity of Red Delicious apples. Researchers are currently working on breeding a new type of apple with even higher levels of antioxidants.
Some apples may serve up more health benefits than others, new research indicates.
Canadian researchers analyzing eight popular varieties found that the old standby, Red Delicious, and an apple called Northern Spy contain more disease-fighting antioxidants in their skin and flesh than any other studied.
Red Delicious had more than twice the antioxidant activity as Empires, which had the least activity of the eight.
"Choosing an apple with a high proportion of polyphenols (natural chemicals that cause tissue to contract) in the flesh and skin can potentially produce more health benefits," said Rong Tsao, lead author of the study appearing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry on June 29, and published online last week.
"But eating any apple is better than eating no apple at all."
Tsao, a researcher at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Guelph, Ontario, and colleagues at the government agency also pinpointed the individual compounds most responsible for antioxidant activity in apples.
Their findings could lead to breeding of hybrid apples that pack an even more potent punch.
Researchers have known for some time that apples are a good source of antioxidants, chemicals that neutralize unstable molecules in cells.
Another researcher, Riu Hai Liu of Cornell University, has found that eating 100 grams of apple provides the same amount of antioxidant activity as taking 1,500 milligrams of vitamin C, but that vitamin is present in apples in only small amounts.
The researchers found that polyphenols were five times more prevalent in the skin than the flesh of the apples
Northern Spy had a little less of the compounds in its skin than Red Delicious, but about twice as much in the flesh of the fruit than Red D.
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