Edith Cowan University research reveals WA-bred apples among healthiest in the world

Headshot of Rourke Walsh
Rourke WalshThe West Australian
Bravo apples at Ladycroft Orchard in Manjimup.
Camera IconBravo apples at Ladycroft Orchard in Manjimup.

WA-bred apples are among the healthiest in the world and could soon become even healthier, according to research from Edith Cowan University.

ECU’s Catherine Bondonno and Nicky Bondonno and UWA’s Professor Michael Considine examined which WA-grown apples were the best for a person’s health based on their content of polyphenols — natural compounds associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The results of the tests on 91 varieties of apples found those that were WA-bred, such as Pink Lady and Bravo, had the highest polyphenol content.

It is hoped the research could pave the way for the State to develop new and even healthier apples.

“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,” Dr Nicky Bondonno 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 very large variation between people in the level of polyphenol compounds in the blood. 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.”

Bravo and Pink Lady apples had the highest polyphenol content.
Camera IconBravo and Pink Lady apples had the highest polyphenol content. Credit: @thisisbenoshea

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

“If you want to get all of the health benefits of eating apples, you’ve got to eat the whole thing,” she said.

“We know that apples are a rich source of polyphenols. Because they’re such a popular fruit, eating apples is one of the most common and most simple ways in which we can add these really important compounds into our diet”.

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