Apples are suitable for a healthy diet because they contain many vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. They also contain antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals.
The apple is the most popular fruit in Germany: on average, everyone eats 30 kilograms or about 125 apples per year. An apple consists of 85 percent water. The pome fruit only has 45 to 60 kilocalories per 100 grams. Apples are therefore suitable for a low-calorie diet.
Fructose in the apple
However, apples and apple products sometimes differ significantly in their fructose content:
- An apple weighing 100 grams contains around six grams of fructose.
- 250 milliliters of apple juice contain 25 grams of fructose.
- 100 grams of dried apple rings contain 54 grams of fructose.
Nutrients in the apple
The nutrient content of apples varies depending on storage and variety. A large part of the vitamins and polyphenols are located directly under the peel. That’s why it’s best to eat apples unpeeled – but wash them thoroughly first. Apples are particularly rich in these ingredients:
- Potassium is responsible for the conduction of stimuli in the nervous system and for controlling the contraction of muscle cells. Potassium is also involved in the regulation of pH and blood pressure.
- Calcium is primarily stored in bones and teeth. It plays an important role in the transmission of stimuli in nerve cells and in blood clotting.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is primarily responsible for obtaining energy from carbohydrates and is therefore important for the brain and heart muscle. Vitamin B1 is also involved in the transmission of stimuli between nerves and muscles.
- The body needs vitamin B2 in order to be able to use proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
- Vitamin B 6 plays an important role in the production of the body’s own messenger substances and in blood formation. It is also involved in fat metabolism and the regulation of the immune system.
- Vitamin E has an antioxidant effect because it scavenges so-called free radicals and thereby protects cells.
- Vitamin E can also reduce inflammatory reactions and prevent arteriosclerosis.
- Folic acid plays a crucial role in cell division and blood formation.
- Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, helps to ward off cell-damaging free radicals, and is important for building connective tissue and for wound healing. However, apples contain significantly less vitamin C than many other types of fruit such as kiwi or orange.
- Pectins are indigestible fibers in the apple skin that stimulate the intestinal bacteria to produce butyric acid. It is good for digestion and protects the intestinal wall. In addition, pectins swell up in the intestines, which makes you feel full for longer.
- Polyphenols are so-called secondary plant substances with which apples protect themselves from insects and fungal infestation. Old varieties such as Boskoop, Berlepsch, or Cox Orange contain a particularly large number of polyphenols. They have a positive effect on blood pressure and inhibit inflammatory reactions.
- They can also reduce the risk of developing dementia.
Old apple varieties: antioxidant effect due to polyphenols
Polyphenols are antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals. A test at the Max Rubner Institute for Human Nutrition in Karlsruhe has shown how well this works: There, immune cells from the blood of six test subjects were stimulated with a special solution. In this way, the researchers simulated a massive attack by free radicals. A special examination showed that the cell nuclei were visibly damaged. The test subjects then each ate one kilogram of apples. After that, the free radicals could no longer harm the cell nuclei. This clear effect amazed even the researchers.
The polyphenols have a tart, almost bitter taste and turn brown when exposed to oxygen. That is why there are few polyphenols in an apple that has been bitten into for hours with hardly any brown spots. How many antioxidants are in the apple depends on the variety and the climate. In general, old varieties usually have a higher content of polyphenols. They were often bred out of newer, particularly sweet varieties.
Allergy to apples: what to do?
The apple allergy is the most widespread fruit allergy in Germany. It is usually a cross-allergy: Anyone who is allergic to pollen also shows an allergic reaction when eating apples.
Allergy sufferers react primarily to apple varieties such as Jonagold, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Elstar, and Gala. Many young varieties contain a particularly large number of proteins that allergy sufferers do not get.
Old varieties such as the Roter Wellant, the Finkenwerder Herbstprinz and the Gravensteiner as well as, for example, Alkmene, Berlepsch, Boskop, Idared, Jamba or Rubinette are slightly allergenic. In addition, most allergy sufferers can enjoy cooked and processed apples without any problems.