What are the benefits of red apple over green apple?

Apples are one of the most popular and beloved fruits, and they come in a range of colors including red, green, yellow, and more. Red and green apples are two of the most commonly consumed apple varieties. But when it comes to nutritional value and potential health benefits, do red apples have an edge over their green counterparts?


Both red and green apples provide important nutrients and health benefits. However, there are some key differences that may make red apples the healthier choice for many people.

In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between red and green apples in terms of:

  • Nutrient content
  • Antioxidant levels
  • Fiber content
  • Potential health benefits

Read on to learn why nutrionists often recommend red apples over green, and why the old adage of “an apple a day” may be best observed with vibrant red fruit.

Nutrient Content

One medium apple weighing around 182 grams provides the following nutrients:

Nutrient Red Apple Green Apple
Calories 95 95
Carbohydrates 25 g 25 g
Fiber 4.4 g 3.6 g
Sugar 19 g 19 g
Vitamin C 14% DV 12% DV

As you can see from the table, red and green apples are very similar in macronutrients like calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. The main differences come in the micronutrients.

Red apples contain slightly more fiber and vitamin C per serving compared to green. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that supports immune function, while fiber helps promote digestive health.

Antioxidant Content

Beyond vitamin C, apples also contain various antioxidant compounds like quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid. The levels of these antioxidants can vary significantly depending on the apple variety.

Studies show that red apple varieties like Red Delicious, Braeburn, and Fuji tend to contain higher levels of antioxidants than green varieties like Granny Smith.

In one study comparing the antioxidant content of Red Delicious, Granny Smith, and Braeburn apples, researchers found:

  • Red Delicious had the highest levels of quercetin and vitamin C.
  • Braeburn had the highest levels of phloridzin and chlorogenic acid.
  • Granny Smith had the lowest levels of all major antioxidants.

The vibrant red color of certain apple varieties is a key sign that they contain high levels of anthocyanins, a special antioxidant that gives red/purple fruits and vegetables their distinct hue.

Anthocyanins have been linked to health benefits like lower inflammation, improved vision, and reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

Fiber Content

As shown in the nutrient table earlier, red apples contain slightly more fiber per serving compared to green apples.

On average, one medium red apple provides about 17% of the recommended daily intake for fiber. Green apples provide about 14%.

Fiber is important for digestive health, weight management, blood sugar control, and more. The type of fiber in apples may also help feed the good bacteria in your gut microbiome.

Studies suggest that increased fiber intake, especially from fruit sources like apples, is associated with a lower risk of health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.

Potential Health Benefits

Research shows that eating apples may provide the following health benefits:

  • Weight loss – Apples are low in calories and high in fiber and water, which helps promote fullness and reduces calorie intake.
  • Heart health – Compounds like fiber, vitamin C, and potassium support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Blood sugar control – The fiber in apples helps slow digestion and glucose absorption, preventing unhealthy spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.
  • Cancer prevention – Antioxidants like quercetin may help combat oxidative cell damage linked to cancer development.
  • Gut health – The fiber and antioxidants in apples act as prebiotics to feed beneficial gut bacteria.

While both red and green apples offer these benefits, some research suggests that red varieties may be more advantageous.

In one major review of studies, researchers found a significant link between anthocyanin intake (from red/purple produce) and reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Other studies indicate that the polyphenol antioxidants especially abundant in certain red apples may be particularly potent cancer fighters.

Red Apple Varieties

Some of the most nutritious and health-promoting red apple varieties to look for include:

  • Red Delicious – Sweet, mellow flavor. Higher in antioxidants than green apples.
  • Fuji – Very sweet and juicy. Contains more fiber than other red varieties.
  • Braeburn – Tart and crisp. High in vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • Honeycrisp – Sweet yet tart. Maintains its texture well when baked.
  • Gala – Mildly sweet flavor. Good source of vitamin C and potassium.
  • Jonagold – Slightly tart but sweet. Contains more antioxidants than Green Jonagold.

Green Apple Varieties

Some common types of green apples include:

  • Granny Smith – Tart and crunchy. Becomes sweeter when cooked.
  • Green Jonagold – Crisp with honey-like flavor. Low in antioxidants.
  • Jazz – Refreshing sweet-tart flavor. Holds shape well when baked.
  • Honeycrisp – Very sweet and juicy. Maintains texture when baked.
  • Pippin – Pleasant tart flavor. Often used for baking pies and sauces.

Antioxidants in Red vs Green Apples: Visual Comparison

This table provides a visual summary of the antioxidant differences between red and green apple varieties, based on levels per medium apple:

Antioxidant Red Apple (medium) Green Apple (medium)
Vitamin C ■■■■■ ■■■■
Quercetin ■■■■■ ■■
Catechin ■■■■ ■■
Phloridzin ■■■■ ■■
Chlorogenic acid ■■■■
Anthocyanins ■■■■■

As shown, amounts of all major antioxidants are lower in green apples compared to red. Red apples are especially high in anthocyanins, vitamin C, and quercetin.

Potential Downsides of Red Apples

Red apples do contain slightly more natural sugar compared to green. One medium red apple has about 19 grams of sugar, while a green apple has around 15 grams.

The sugar in whole fruit like apples is not a major concern for most people. But those with diabetes or blood sugar issues should moderate portion sizes of all high-sugar foods.

Some people may also have a mild oral allergy to fresh apples, which is usually caused by the protein Mal d 1 found in the fruit skin. Red and green apples contain similar allergen levels.

The Bottom Line

Both red and green apples provide important nutrients and health benefits. However, when comparing red vs green apples, research shows that red varieties typically contain:

  • Higher antioxidant levels, especially anthocyanins and quercetin
  • More fiber per serving
  • Slightly higher amounts of vitamin C

These nutrients give red apples an edge for potential benefits related to heart health, cancer prevention, blood sugar control, and more.

Of course, all apples are nutritious and healthy. So you can’t go wrong incorporating a mix of different colors and varieties into your diet. But if you had to choose one or the other, red apples appear to have the nutritional advantage.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *