Apples are the healthiest when they have dark, red skin. In fact, rich, deep colors in any fruit or vegetable mean they are better for you… and look prettier in a fruit bowl. But be sure to eat the color! The apple’s skin is the healthiest part and contains many times the antioxidants of the white flesh.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants in your body grab up highly reactive molecules called free radicals. Those free radicals are necessary to jump start important chemical process. But, if there are too many, they can start reacting with the wrong chemicals and cause damage to your cells. Damaged cells can become malignant (cancer).
Antioxidants in Apples
Maximizing the amount of antioxidants you eat is one way to keep your body healthy and prevent cancer. In 2003, Canadian scientist Rong Tsao published a study of the antioxidant levels in a variety of apples. Red Delicious and another red apple, Northern Spy, were the winners. They discovered other cool things, too: each breed of apple came with its own unique set of antioxidants and the majority of those nutrients were in the skin. So, the best way to get a wide variety of antioxidants and other healthful nutrients is to order up one of each and eat them skin and all.
Healthiest Apple Recipes
To keep a fruit or vegetable healthy, stop the nutrients from “falling out” and avoid coating them with unhealthy condiments. If you boil apples and discard the liquid, a lot of nutrients wash down the drain. Same goes for baking and draining the juices. Homemade applesauce without added sugar is great – it preserves all the healthy components of the apple, intensifying the natural sweetness of fructose by reduction. You can also steam apple slices or dehydrate them. You might find that preparing apples with only cinnamon or nutmeg makes a nice treat even without adding sugar and butter. If you want to dip fresh slices, try a nut butter or yogurt. Chopping up an apple with a couple of other fruits, some berries, a sprinkle of nuts and flax seed, and a small squirt of raw honey makes a nice fruit cocktail. Chopped apple can be plopped on top of cereal, oatmeal, salads, and even scrambled eggs.