It’s not hard to imagine a lineup of apples in a beauty contest—at the grocery store, pretty Pink Ladies, emerald Granny Smiths, and shapely Honeycrisps vie for our attention with their bright colors and varying sizes. But, for most of us, the more important question about apples has more to do with what’s inside than what’s outside. We all know apples are healthy—and pretty to look at—but are they all created equal for nutrition? Is there one specific best apple to eat for your health?
The truth is, there are no bad choices when it comes to apples and your health. All apples contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and the antioxidant quercetin, which shows promise for reducing inflammation and preventing certain cancers. Different types of these juicy fruits come with varying calorie counts, but all qualify as low-calorie, nutrient-dense snacks. And by purchasing organic, locally grown apples, you’ll fuel your snack times with the freshest product with low environmental impact. Plus, did you know apples are considered one of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now?
Still, one variety of apples does stand slightly above the rest. The green lunchbox favorite Granny Smith boasts some surprising health benefits.
For one thing, Granny Smiths are lower in sugars than some other apple varieties. If you’re counting your carbs, you’d do better to choose a Granny Smith than a higher-sugar Fuji or Jonagold, for example. And besides the antioxidant quercetin, Granny Smiths are loaded with additional polyphenol compounds like rutin, reynoutrin, and avicularin. (You don’t have to remember their names—just know that their anti-inflammatory effects are a very good thing for preventing chronic disease.)
Meanwhile, Granny Smiths might have an important role to play in healthy digestion. Pectin, a soluble fiber found in their peel, is a source of prebiotic fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract. An animal study in the journal Food Chemistry evaluated seven varieties of apples and found that Granny Smiths came out on top for boosting healthy gut bacteria.
Whether you eat them in salads, alongside a sandwich, or sliced with a schmear of peanut butter, you can’t go wrong with the sweet-tart flavor of Granny Smiths. Just be sure to eat the peel—that’s where the antioxidants are!
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