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Diet: some apples are healthier than others
The experts from Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) examined eight kinds of apples that are common in Canada, i.e. Red Delicious, McIntosh, Cortland, Northern Spy, Ida Red, Golden Delicious, Mutsu and Empire, to determine their antioxidant content. Antioxidants are a group of chemical substances that have the ability to neutralise unstable molecules known as free radicals that are harmful to health. Free radicals can damage cells and cell tissue and are considered to be possible causes of heart diseases, prostate cancer and colon cancer.
According to the results,, Red Delicious, Ida Red and Northern Spy are among the healthiest types of apples. The experts also determined the individual chemical components that are responsible for the antioxidant effect. The results of the study are being published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry on 29. June.
The antioxidant effect of apples is attributable to their polyphenol content. The research scientists report the surprising result that this content varied greatly between the types of apples tested, however. Red Delicious apples, for example, have twice as strong an antioxidant effect as Empire apples. Apple peel also contains five times as much polyphenol as it was possible to detect in the apples themselves.
The polyphenols epicatechnin and procyanidin B2 are mainly responsible for the antioxidant effect. "If customers decide not to buy their apples on the basis of their taste and type, the health benefits are greatest when they choose those kinds of apples with the highest polyphenol content", is the conclusion study manager Rong Tsao draws.
According to research scientists,one outcome of the study may be to grow special hybrid apples in future that have particularly strong antioxidant impact and are especially good for people's health. GD