When it comes to red versus green, it is a tough call, as both apples contain their own nutritional benefits. They have a few small differences but are more similar than they are different when it comes to nutrition.
The health benefit differences are negligible. However, green apples in comparison to red may contain
- Less sugar
- More fiber
- Higher antioxidant levels
- More anti-aging and beauty benefits
- More vitamins
Based on the reports of the USDA, one cup of green apples has a total of 14.83 grams of carbs. On the other hand, one cup of red apples has 15.33 grams. Although there is a bit of difference, the dissimilarity in amounts is so negligible that both are considered 15 grams in carb content. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults should have at least 45% of their daily calories from carbs.
Apples are known to fight diabetes. However, when it comes to sugar content, it is agreed that green apples have lower sugar than the red ones. This is why the red varieties, including the Red and Golden Delicious are considered the sweetest among the apples, while Granny Smith and other green apples are tart.
However, you should bear in mind that the sugar found in apples and other fruits is not like the sugar contained in processed food. Basically, sugars in fruits are good and are actually carbohydrates. Therefore, in a typical diet, you need about 40 to 45 percent of sugar for your energy supply. Compared to fats, sugar only has four calories for every gram. While sugar in fruits is considered healthy, you should definitely avoid refined sugar, which are empty calories.
Probably the biggest difference is in the chemical found in the skins of the apples. Red apples contain anthocyanins, while green ones don’t. However, two red apples cannot be said to have the same anthocyanin content since the anthocyanin genes are moved from one variety to another when they are cross-bred.
The fact is both red and green apples are a good nutritious option. The differences are very slight. What more important is the overall health benefits of apples, regardless of color, and there are many. Let’s take a look.
- 95 calories
- 4 grams fiber
- 19 grams sugar
- 0 grams of protein or fat
- 4 milligrams vitamin C (14 percent DV)
- 196 milligrams potassium (6 percent DV)
- 4 milligrams vitamin K (5 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (4 percent DV)
- 1 milligrams manganese (3 percent DV)
Good Source of Vitamin C
One apple supplies about 14 percent of your daily vitamin C, which is considered a powerful antioxidant that’s important for skin, eye, immune and brain health.
Great Source of Cancer-Fighting Antioxidants
Apples are a high-antioxidant food and a very significant source of flavonoids in people’s diets in the U.S. and in Europe. In the United States, 22 percent of the phenolic antioxidants consumed from fruits are from apples, making them the largest single source of these compounds.
Apples are ranked second among all types of fruit for their total concentration of phenolic compounds, a class of bioactive substances that includes flavonoids, second to cranberries. And compared to all other types of fruit, apples have the highest portion of free phenolic compounds, which means these molecules are not bound to other compounds in the fruit that can slow down their beneficial activity in the body.
One thing to note here is that you want to eat the whole apple to get the most benefits, including the skin. When researchers studied the antioxidant capacity of pears and apples, they found that diets that included the fruit peels had a significantly higher level of healthy fatty acids (higher plasma lipid levels) and antioxidant activity than diets that discarded the peels and only ate the fruit’s pulp.
Improving Neurological Health
A 2006 study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine found that quercetin (one of the antioxidants found abundantly in apples) was one of two compounds that helped to reduce cellular death that is caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. Another study presented at the same conference and published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease suggested that apple juice consumption may increase the production in the brain of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine, resulting in improved memory among mice who have Alzheimer's-like symptoms.
Help Prevent Inflammation
Phytochemicals found in colorful fruits, including phenolics, flavonoids and carotenoids, are known to reduce the risk for many chronic diseases that are widespread but largely preventable. This is because phytochemicals keep arteries clear, lower inflammatory responses and prevent high levels of oxidative stress.
Recent work from California State University suggests that high-antioxidant foods including apples are associated with “improved outcomes related to cognitive decline of normal aging, diabetes, weight management, bone health, pulmonary function, and gastrointestinal protection.”
Prevent Heart Diseases
Apples help lower the risk of heart stroke and various other heart ailments. The antioxidant property of apples reduces the oxidation of fats, called lipid peroxidation. It also neutralizes various fats found in blood vessels that can exert dangerous pressure. The flavonoid quercetin reduces inflammation in our blood vessels. The polyphenol epicatechin also lowers the blood pressure in the body.
Improve Digestive Health
The phytonutrients found in apples can help protect the digestive organs from oxidative stress, alkalize the body and balance pH levels. When it comes to natural constipation relief, consuming plenty of high-fiber foods is a great way to prevent or treat this issue. Pectin in apples is also considered a natural diuretic and has a mild laxative effect, so this can help combat bloating and uncomfortable water retention. Try either eating raw apples (remember to also eat the skin) or adding them to recipes by blending them first. You can also obtain benefits by juicing apples, although you’ll want to avoid the types of high-sugar juices found in most grocery stores.
Improve Bone Health
Compounds like kaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin present in apple have been linked to reducing inflammatory conditions like arthritis and gout. Thus, people suffering from rheumatism find apples very useful as they aid in the healing process.
Apples help to prevent conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. They also make the eyes stronger and improve eyesight and help in treating night blindness. Apples are rich in flavonoid compounds and antioxidant phytonutrients, which reduce the impact of free radicals on the eyes and prevent the various issues.
Helps with Weight Loss
One medium apple can help fill you up for under 100 calories—so it's no surprise that apples can help with weight loss. Turns out it's what form of apple you eat that counts. In one study, people who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller and more satisfied than people who had applesauce, apple juice or no apples at all. The same study also found that starting a meal with apple slices helped people eat an average of 200 fewer calories compared to those who skipped the apple slices.
Can Help Fight Diabetes
Certain flavonoids present in apples and other fruits are known to improve insulin sensitivity, which is key to preventing both diabetes and long-term weight gain. The other antioxidants and fiber found in apples also play a role in their anti-diabetic effects, since we know that a diet high in fiber and phytonutrients acts like a natural diabetes treatment.
Because apples are high in fiber, they’re considered a fruit that’s low on the glycemic index. Compared to refined carbohydrates or sweetened products, apples have the ability to unleash sugar into the bloodstream at a slower rate. This means they keep blood sugar levels more stable and prevent fluctuations in blood glucose that can potentially lead to insulin resistance.
Boost your immune system
Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out. That’s one of the most unexpected health benefits of apples.
The soluble fiber found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.
There are so many more benefits to apples. Green or red, it doesn’t matter. Just follow the old saying, “an apple a day, keeps a doctor away.” Have one daily to keep your body healthy.