Apples: What is the Nutritional Value of Apples?

12.08.22 02:54 AM By Awakened Body

In celebration of the wondrous nutritional properties of apples

With more than 7,500 varieties in existence, vitamin packed, sweet, crunchy apples are a miracle. While no food is a cure for all maladies, there is wisdom behind the age-old adage "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

History of Apples

The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe and were brought to North America by European colonists.

Apples are mentioned in some of human civilization's most ancient texts. A stone tablet found in Mesopotamia, dating back to 1500 B.C., narrates the story of an Apple orchard in exchange of a herd of sheep. Europeans brought apple stock to Virginia and Southwest. John Chapman, who in later years came be known as john Appleseed planted apple trees throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. 

The humble Apple has come a long way. From a wild fruit today it is almost a life-saving element. Apart from its daily use as a raw fruit and juice, apple fruit heath benefits have made it amongst the highest exported fruits in demand. Nearly 8000 varieties of apples are grown across the world. In US alone, it constitutes about 90% of the fruit cultivation and makes for a flourishing industry. Apple will continue to enjoy the queen’s place in the fruit basket of world and will reap returns in the years to come.

Types of Apples

Apples vary in size, color, shape and texture.  Here are 10 apples to keep your eye out for at your local farmers market:

Gala Apples

Gala Apples are one of the most popular all-around apples in the world! These pretty apples discovered in New Zealand have a red and yellow peel with a sweet flavor and a nice crispy texture. More galas are grown in the USA than any other type of apple! Gala Apples are very versatile and can be eaten fresh, used to make fresh applesauce, or baked into an apple pie.

Red Delicious Apples

Red Delicious Apples are the classic deep red American apple. They have a very mild flavor that’s a little bit sweet. Some grocery store Red Delicious Apples can be a bit dry, but they’re actually quite good when eaten right off the tree. They’re not the tastiest apple, but they sure are gorgeous in a fruit bowl or on a festive wreath with their unique bright red skin.

Honeycrisp Apples

Honeycrisp Apples are outstanding large green-yellow apples with bright yellow stripes. They’re known for their incredibly tasty sweet-tart flavor and uniquely crisp, yet juicy texture. Bred by the University of Minnesota, Honeycrisp Apples are one of the best-tasting apple varieties. They’re most often eaten fresh or saved for your favorite holiday apple treats.

Fuji Apples

Fuji Apples are incredibly sweet pink apples with delicate yellow stripes down the peel. Developed in Japan, this type of apple has a complex sweet flavor and juicy, crisp flesh. Fuji Apples are great fruits for eating fresh year-round, as they’re widely grown in apple-growing regions around the world. Fuji is considered one of the sweetest apple varieties available.

Golden Delicious Apples

Golden Delicious Apples are a supermarket-standard American apple with a lovely sweet taste and a crisp texture. A properly-ripe Golden Delicious is a golden-yellow color (not an unripe green). They do store well and are available year-round from orchards worldwide. Like the Gala Apple descended from it, the Golden Delicious Apple is a perfect multi-purpose apple for eating fresh, in cooked recipes, in applesauce, and in baked apple desserts.

Jonagold Apples

Jonagold Apples are big red apples with cheery golden freckles down the peel. Developed at Cornell University, Jonagold apples have a solid well-balanced sweet-tart flavor and a nice crispy crunch when they’re freshly picked. While these apples are wonderful to eat right off the tree, they’re one of the best for using in baked apple dishes like pie or cobbler. You can also dry them into apple chips or make yummy apple butter.

Braeburn Apples

Braeburn Apples are flavorful sweet-tart apples with a hint of spice and crisp texture. Discovered in New Zealand, they have a yellow-red striped peel that’s very pretty. The Braeburn is an excellent apple to eat fresh for those who like a more flavorful apple. They’re also wonderful in pies and cooked recipes, as they tend to hold their texture without becoming dry.

McIntosh Apples

McIntosh Apples are tart, soft apples with a bright green and red peel and bright white flesh. These Canadian heritage apples are great to eat fresh soon after picking, but they can become quite soft in storage. McIntosh Apples are known as one of the best apples for applesauce and are sometimes used in a mix of different types of apples for a well-rounded apple pie filling.

Crispin/Mutsu Apples

Crispin Apples (Mutsu variety) are large green apples with a delicious sweet flavor. Bred in Japan, they have a bit of appley tartness but are otherwise quite sweet and almost honey-like. These apples have a very crisp texture and a wonderful juicy bite. Crispin/Mutsu Apples are versatile and are excellent to eat fresh or use in cooked recipes or baking.

Pink Lady Apples (Cripps Pink Variety)

Pink Lady Apples are the pick of the crop of the Cripps Pink variety of apple. These apples have a red-pink blush peel with golden streaks that reveal their Golden Delicious parentage. Pink Lady apples were developed in Australia, but are now grown worldwide (and available year-round). They’re great for eating fresh, for serving sliced (they are slow to brown), and for baking (they keep their texture).

Where do Apples Grow?

Apples are indigenous to Central Asia but today, are grown around the world. In 2022, China the charts for world exports of apples, producing 44 million tonnes annually. The top ten apple producing states in the United States are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon, Ohio and Idaho (U.S. Apple Association, 2021).

Why You Should Eat Apples

Apples are a great source of Fiber (insoluble and soluble), Phytochemicals (quercetin, catechin, chlorogenic acid, anthocyanin) and Vitamin C.

Apples are rich in quercetin and pectin, both of which are credited for supplying apples with their health benefits. [1] 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. [1], [2].

Keep in mind; most of the health benefits of apples are found in their peals, so find a good local farmers market, or scrub your apples free of pesticides and wax before you sink your teeth into this vitamin-packed colorful fruit.

Apples By the Numbers

NutrientAmount in 1 appleDaily adult requirement
Energy (calories)94.61,800–3,000
Carbohydrate (g)25.1, including 18.9 g of sugar130
Fiber (g)4.422.4–33.6
Calcium (milligrams [mg])10.91,000–1,300
Phosphorus (mg)20700
Magnesium (mg)9.1320–420
Potassium (mg)1954,700
Vitamin C (mg)8.3775–90
Folate (micrograms [mcg])5.46400
Beta-carotene (mcg)49.1No data
Lutein and zeaxanthin (mcg)52.8No data
Vitamin K (mcg)490–120

How to germinate an apple seed?

A Word of Caution Before Eating Apples

Apples continuously top the list of fruits highest in pesticide residues. They often require more pesticides as they are particularly susceptible to bugs and disease. Although apples are generally washed before being sold, the amount of remaining residue is unknown and may vary widely (partly depending on the type and amount of pesticide applied).

However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have developed a national pesticide residue database called the Pesticide Data Program (PDP) to collect data each year on pesticide residues in food. One of the most common pesticides used on apples after harvest is diphenylamine, used to prevent apple scald or browning of the skin that can occur during storage. A 2016 analysis from the PDP found that 80% of 531 apple samples contained residues of this chemical at 0.002-3.8 ppm, which is below the EPA’s tolerance level of 10 ppm. [12] A tolerance level is the maximum amount of residue allowed on a raw food. This amount is based on a review of numerous scientific studies to determine possible harmful effects the chemical could have on humans, the amount of residue likely to remain in or on the food, and the amount of the food that people typically eat.

Although some pesticide residue can permeate into the flesh, washing and peeling the apple skin removes much of the pesticide. Apple skin supplies the majority of healthy phytochemicals and fiber, so it is not best to remove it. If one eats several apples a week and is unsure of the amount of pesticides used, purchasing organically grown apples may be an option, although direct evidence is not available that there is an important difference in health effects.

A Tip for Safely Eating Apples 

Baking soda is effective at removing bacteria and breaking down pesticide residues so they are more easily rinsed off, but this method requires a few extra steps. Soak the apple in a baking soda solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 cups water for 10-15 minutes, then rinse well. To save time, soak a large batch of apples, rinse well, and then dry each thoroughly with a towel before storing in the refrigerator (as any remaining excess moisture can promote mold or spoilage).

Ode to Apples

Delicious little ladies
Red, crunchy, bright

Tempting so
the fall of Man

No doubt

a delight

with flavor

crunchy treat

Good for heart
tummy, kidneys

For thanking teachers
so sweet

There is wisdom
in the age-old adage

About one
each day

So find an orchard
Or sprout a seed

Let Jonnie
lead the way!

1. Gerhauser C. Cancer chemopreventive potential of apples, apple juice, and apple components. Planta medica. 2008 Oct;74(13):1608

2. Koutsos A, Tuohy KM, Lovegrove JA. Apples and cardiovascular health—is the gut microbiota a core consideration?. Nutrients. 2015 May 26;7(6):3959-98.

Awakened Body