Research paves way for WA's next healthiest apple

Wednesday, 23 September, 2020

Research paves way for WA's next healthiest apple

New research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) is paving the way for Western Australia’s next ‘super healthy’ apple.

The research, led by Dr Catherine Bondonno and Dr Nicky Bondonno from ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences and Professor Michael Considine from UWA, examined which WA-grown apples were the best for health based on their polyphenol content.

Polyphenols are natural compounds associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Dr Nicky Bondonno said that while Pink Lady and BRAVO apples are undoubtedly among the tastiest, they are also among the healthiest. The research revealed an important way to get the healthiest bang for your buck from eating apples. The most recent WA-bred Bravo variety is said to be a result of two decades of R&D.

The research team tested samples from the skin and flesh of the 91 varieties of apple and identified the types with the highest concentration of polyphenols.

Dr Nick Bondonno said the research showed that across all of the apples that were sampled, more than half of the polyphenols were found in the skin.

“Our analysis found that the Pink Lady variety contained the most polyphenols, so [we] also wanted to assess the levels of these compounds and the smaller compounds that they are broken down into after we eat them,” she said.

“We gave 30 participants Pink Lady apples to eat and then measured the levels of these compounds in their blood.”

Interestingly, we found a large variation between people in the level of polyphenol compounds in the blood, Bondonno said. This indicates that there is a difference in how people absorb and break down these compounds and that the beneficial effects of apples on health may differ from person to person.”

On top of their polyphenol levels, there’s plenty of other reasons to eat apples for health. These include high levels of dietary fibre; low glycaemic index (GI); good source of potassium, vitamin C, essential minerals and B vitamins; no fat, cholesterol or salt.

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