Q & A Library
Eat More Apples?
What are the health benefits of eating apples? I'm also curious about the best way to choose apples.
Answer (Published 9/24/2007)
Apples are good for you – as long as they’re fresh and organically grown. I avoid apples that have been grown with pesticides or treated with fungicides and wax. and I don’t like the ubiquitous Red Delicious variety that conventional growers have foisted on us for years; in my experience, they are usually mealy and tasteless.
Apples are a popular fruit, but unfortunately, they usually rank among the 12 top fruits and vegetables contaminated by pesticides in tests run by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) which investigates environmental threats to health. The last EWG report on pesticides in fruits and vegetables concluded that frequently eating these "dirty dozen" fruits and vegetables will expose a person to about 14 pesticides per day, on average. That said, fresh, organically grown apples offer many health benefits:
If you’re choosing your apples on the basis of their health benefits, not your taste preferences, you’ll be better off with Red Delicious, Northern Spy, and Ida Red, because a 2005 Canadian study found these varieties to be highest in antioxidants. The same study reported that polyphenols, the major antioxidants in apples, are five times more prevalent in apple skin than in the flesh. Note, however, that while Northern Spy apples have fewer polyphenols in the skin than Red Delicious, they have twice as many in their flesh. The study was published in the June 29, 2005 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
When choosing apples, you’re better off buying organic ones in season from local farmers. Store them in the refrigerator to prevent them from over-ripening and to preserve their flavor. I recommend never eating the skins of non-organic apples.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.