What’s healthier apple or orange?

Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet. They provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients. Two of the most popular fruits are apples and oranges. But when it comes to nutritional benefits, is one healthier than the other? This article compares apples and oranges to help you decide which one is the healthier choice.

Nutritional Content

Below is a table comparing the basic nutritional content in a medium-sized apple (182g) versus a medium orange (131g) (1, 2):

Nutrient Apple Orange
Calories 95 62
Carbohydrates 25 g 15 g
Dietary fiber 4.4 g 3.1 g
Sugar 19 g 12 g
Protein 0.5 g 1.2 g
Fat 0.3 g 0.2 g
Vitamin C 8% DV 116% DV
Vitamin A 1% DV 4% DV
Potassium 195 mg 237 mg

As you can see, oranges contain more vitamin C, whereas apples contain more fiber. Let’s explore some of these differences further.

Vitamin C

One medium orange provides over 100% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function and promotes collagen production (3).

Oranges get their signature tangy flavor from the high vitamin C content. Just one orange meets the daily vitamin C needs for most adults.

Apples have a relatively low vitamin C content in comparison. One apple provides only 8% of the daily value. Still, the amount of vitamin C in an apple can help meet your daily needs when combined with other vitamin C foods.

Winner: Orange

Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber promotes healthy digestion and may help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels (4).

Apples contain 4.4 grams of fiber per serving, which is 17% of the daily value. This makes them an excellent source of fiber.

Oranges also contain fiber, providing 12% of the daily value. But apples contain nearly one and a half times more.

Apples get their fiber from a fibrous structural component of their plant cells called pectin. Soluble pectin fibers absorb water in the stomach and expand, helping you feel full for longer (5).

The skin of the apple also contains insoluble fibers like cellulose and hemicellulose, which don’t absorb water but add bulk.

Winner: Apple

Sugar Content

Both apples and oranges are relatively low in sugar compared to other fruits. They can be part of a healthy diet for most people.

One medium apple contains 19 grams of sugar, with less than 1 gram coming from glucose and fructose. The rest is present as sucrose, galactose, and other complex sugars (1).

An orange has 12 grams of natural sugars, mostly sucrose and fructose (2).

For good health, the World Health Organization recommends limiting added sugars to under 10% of total daily calories (6). For a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s 50 grams or less of added sugar per day.

The American Heart Association further suggests limiting added sugar intake to no more than 24 grams per day for women and 36 grams for men (7).

The natural sugars in fresh fruit don’t count toward these daily added sugar limits. Both oranges and apples can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet.

Winner: Tie

Vitamin A

Vitamin A supports eye health and immune function. It also acts as an antioxidant (8).

Oranges contain a small amount of vitamin A, providing 4% of the daily value. Apples have even less, with just 1% of the daily value per serving.

Neither fruit is a significant source of vitamin A compared to foods like sweet potato, spinach, and carrots.

If you’re looking to increase your vitamin A intake, oranges have a small edge over apples. But there are better food sources for this nutrient.

Winner: Orange


Potassium helps regulate fluid balance, nerve signals, and blood pressure. The recommended daily intake for adults is 4,700 mg per day (9).

An orange provides 237 mg of potassium, or 5% of the daily value. An apple provides 195 mg, or 4% of the daily value.

While both fruits contain potassium, they’re not considered high potassium foods. Avocados, bananas, dairy products, and fish are much richer sources.

If you’re looking to increase your potassium intake, oranges contain slightly more than apples. But again, there are better food sources for meeting your needs.

Winner: Orange


In addition to vitamins and minerals, oranges and apples contain beneficial plant compounds called phytonutrients. These function as antioxidants, supporting health in many ways (10).

Apples are especially rich in polyphenol antioxidants like quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid (11). Research suggests these compounds may help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and protect brain health (12, 13).

Oranges also contain unique protective polyphenols like hesperidin and naringenin (14). These support heart health and immune function and have anti-inflammatory effects (15).

Both apples and oranges provide a diverse mix of antioxidant plant compounds that deliver health benefits.

Winner: Tie


The natural acids in fruit can sometimes irritate sensitive teeth and digestive systems, especially for those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Oranges are highly acidic, rating between 2–4 on the pH scale. Anything below 7 is considered acidic.

Apples have a pH around 5.5, which is less acidic than oranges but still acidic overall (16).

Those with acid reflux may find that oranges aggravate symptoms more than apples. However, anecdotal reports vary.

If you have sensitive teeth, acid reflux, or other digestive issues, monitor your own tolerance when adding acidic fruits like oranges and apples to your diet.

Winner: Apple

Pesticide Residue

The thick peel of oranges helps protect them from pesticide contamination. Oranges rank very low on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, meaning the conventionally-grown fruit tends to have very low levels of pesticide residue (17).

Apples rank a bit higher, closer to the middle of the Dirty Dozen list. When apples are conventionally grown, they’re more prone to pesticide residue.

To minimize exposure, you can buy organic oranges and apples whenever possible, peel conventionally grown apples, or wash all produce thoroughly before eating.

Winner: Orange


In most locations, apples are less expensive than oranges. The average price of apples is $1.60 per pound, while oranges average $1.99 per pound (18).

Both are readily available year-round. But oranges tend to be more expensive, especially at certain times of year.

Winner: Apple

Taste and Uses

Oranges and apples both make nutritious snacks and additions to recipes. Which you choose comes down to your taste preferences and how you plan to use them.

Apples are very versatile. They can be baked into pies and tarts, added to salads, made into sauce, and eaten raw as a snack.

Oranges are primarily eaten raw and make a refreshing snack or juice. Their zest and juice can also be used to flavor desserts, marinades, vinaigrettes, and seafood dishes.

Both fruits pair well with certain spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom all complement apples. Orange zest can be used to add bright citrus flavor to dishes.

Since taste is subjective, the winner depends on your preferences.

Winner: Tie


There are a few downsides to keep in mind for both apples and oranges:

  • Tree pollen allergies. Those with pollen allergies may react to fresh oranges or apples if the fruit contains traces of tree pollen.
  • Pesticide exposure. Buying organic and thoroughly washing conventional produce can help minimize exposure.
  • Dental erosion. The acidity may wear down tooth enamel over time, especially if eaten excessively.
  • Carb content. Those on very low carb diets may want to limit intake of both fruits due to their natural sugar content.
  • FODMAPs. Apples and oranges both contain FODMAPs, short chain carbs that may irritate those with IBS.

Both fruits can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet for most people. But some individuals may need to limit their intake.


So which is healthier, apples or oranges? Based on their nutritional profiles, oranges tend to be higher in vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. Apples contain more fiber. Both provide beneficial antioxidants.

Oranges are lower in pesticides and less acidic but cost a bit more than apples. Apples last longer in storage.

Both can be part of a healthy diet and provide different health benefits. Which is healthier comes down to your nutritional needs and personal preferences.

To take advantage of what both fruits offer, enjoy apples and oranges in moderation as part of an overall healthy and balanced diet. Alternate between apples as an on-the-go snack and oranges at breakfast or for an immunity boosting vitamin C kick.

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