Apples – they are not the same nutritionally

Granny Smith Apples

You have probably heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and while there is some truth in this, not all apples are created equally.

Let’s put apples on a spectrum from 1-10. One being poor and 10 being excellent.

Sweet apples like your fujis and galas are at a one. They are very sweet because they have a high fructose (sugar) content. Whereas granny smith are at a 10 because they are low in sugar and high in nutrients. The following is a simplistic list with many other types in between.

fuji ~ gala ~ honeycrisp ~ red delicious ~ golden delicious ~ pink lady ~ granny smith

Red apples like Fujis have the highest polyphenols but granny smith apples contain a high dosage of polyphenols as well. Polyphenols have a wide number of roles in the body like antioxidant and anti-inflammatory processes.

Five major groups of polyphenolic compounds are in granny smith apples:

  • anthocyanins (cyanidin)
  • dihydrochalcones (phloretin glycosides)
  • flavanols (catechin, epicatechin and procyanidins) (also found in real chocolate)
  • flavonols (quercetin glycosides)
  • phenolic acids (mainly chlorogenic acid)

Green apples contain more protein, fibre and minerals like iron and potassium.

Granny smith apples also contain one of the highest amounts of quercetin, as well as other anti oxidants like catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, all of which are strong antioxidants. Quercetin is found in large doses in the skin of the granny smith apple.

This phenomenal anti-oxidant, like most compounds is involved in a number of proesses in the body. Quercetin has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammation, and anti-proliferative properties as a start. But it is also an anti-diabetic, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-microbial properties. Quercetin has a rapid metabolism and is excreted without accumulation in the body.

Not all green apples are granny smith apples. There are a variety of green apples, including heirloom favorites like Granny Smith, Rhode Island Greening, and Newtown Pippin, as well as new species like Shamrock, Smeralda, and Crispin. The green peel (and lack of red coloration) is also affected by environmental factors like temperature and sunlight. Not all new species are the result of the dangerous GMO processes. Some are created naturally and have no harmful effects.

Granny smith apples also have one of the highest fibre contents. So why is that important? There are two major types of fibre – soluble and non soluble. The soluble helps to lower the blood glucose uptake from the gut; lower choleserols and help decrease weight. Whereas the non-soluble helps to regulate the stool transit through the intestines. Fibres also help with digestive issues, increase blood oxygen levels, increase metabolism, help decrease weight loss and prevent diabetes. Both are found in Granny smith apples.

Granny smith apples also contain various minerals – iron, zinc, copper, manganese, potassium, etc. which are trace minerals and are a must for human health and well-being. Some of the well known issues include: iron helps to raise blood oxygen levels; zinc is great for the immune system; potassium is important for the central nervous system and muscles as well as maintaining fluid levels in cells. Manganese is involved in cholesterol, glucose, and carbohydrate metabolism; is an antioxidant; involved in bone formation; reproduction; and the immune response.

Granny smith apples, while tart, do have sugars called polysaccharides as well as lignins which are important for colon health. Yet they are great for diabetics as well as preventing diabetes because of their low sugar content.

Granny Smith apples also decrease inflammation by providing an enzyme that helps the T-cells, a type of lymphocyte that deters inflammation.

Eating Granny Smith apples can also benefit the skin providing hydration, elasticity and a freshness that helps you look young and vital.

Granny Smith apples promote blood coagulation with Vitamin K – all green apples are a good source of Vitamin k. Just as a side note, too much D3 (a hormone not a vitamin) depletes your K2 and sets you up for clotting issues.

Green apples are rich in vitamins A and E. Well known vitamins that support the body in a number of ways.

So I tell my clients that while “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, I want them to eat Granny Smith apples.

And…if you have the space for an apple tree – you might want to consider a granny smith apple tree. Easy to grow and produce lots of fruit. And by the way are great for apple pies, applesauce, apple strudels – I make all of them without adding extra sugar; but I do add lots of nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamon and cloves which are also great for diabetics and help lose weight!!!

Here’s to your health and Granny Smith apples.

Dr Holly