Fall is in full swing. Which means, inevitably, that you will be going – or have already gone – apple picking at some point in time. (Because what is autumn if not a time of year riddled with handpicked Granny Smiths, Honeycrisps, and Braeburns aplenty?) But before you head out to the orchard, here’s something you might want to keep in mind: not all apples, it turns out, are created equal. Sure, you might have your flavor profile of preference. But aside from taste, it turns out that some apples are a good deal healthier than others, while some varieties, like Golden Delicious and Pink Lady, tend to come in with way too much sugar and too few phytonutrients to be all that good for you.
So, sure, an apple a day might help keep the doctor away and all that jazz, but only if you have the right apple. To that end, we’ve rounded up a few of the best apples to plop into your apple-picking basket this season.
Don’t be fooled by their sweet, tender moniker. When it comes to health benefits, Granny Smiths pack a serious punch. So much so, in fact, that many a health expert might call these the healthiest apples of the bunch. (Which says a lot, given that there are over 7,000 varieties out there. No big deal.) Aside from having quite a bit more phytonutrients than other apple varieties, these green guys are also impressive sources of fiber, as well as antioxidants that could fend off obesity-related disorders. Studies have also found that Granny Smith apples may be able to promote the growth of good bacteria in your colon, which could further help prevent chronic inflammation and lower the risk of developing diseases like diabetes.
Even if you’re not particularly fond of Red Delicious apples (we get it, believe us), there’s plenty of science-backed reasoning to change your tune. For starters, Red Delicious apples have some of the thickest peels when compared to other varieties, and since an apple’s skin is where it carries most of its polyphenols and other nutrients, the thicker skin means more benefits. Another payoff of this variety? Apples with a red hue have a higher concentration of heart disease-fighting polyphenols called anthocyanins. And since Red Delicious apples are, well, the reddest, they happen to spell major benefits for your heart.
Yes, Honeycrisps were developed in a lab (wait, huh?), but they’ve since earned themselves a spot on the list of the 25 best innovations of the best decade, so there’s that. When it comes to the health payoffs of a Honeycrisp, you’re mostly looking at a hefty supply of fiber (more per serving than almost any of the apple varieties out) and a good amount of disease-fighting antioxidants that could protect against breast and lung cancer.