Medically Reviewed by Zilpah Sheikh, MD on July 28, 2023
5 min read

An apple is a crunchy, bright-colored fruit, which is one of the most popular in the U.S. You’ve probably heard the age-old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Although eating apples isn’t a cure-all, it is good for your health.

European settlers brought apples with them to the Americas. They preferred apples to North America’s native crabapple, a smaller, tarter fruit.

Today, many types of apples are grown in the U.S., but a small percentage of the ones you can buy in grocery stores are imported. Each type of apple has a different shape, color, and texture.

An apple can be sweet or sour, and its flavor can vary depending on what type you’re eating.

Apple types

There are many varieties, including:

  • Red Delicious
  • McIntosh
  • Crispin
  • Gala
  • Granny Smith
  • Fuji
  • Honeycrisp

Apples can do a lot for you, thanks to plant chemicals called flavonoids. And they have pectin, a fiber that breaks down in your gut. If you take off the apple’s skin before eating it, you won’t get as much of the fiber or flavonoids.

Nutritionists and other scientists get excited about apples because of their phytochemical content. Phytochemicals are substances found in plants that may be good for human health. They go by many different names, such as phytonutrients, polyphenols, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and flavonoids. You shouldn't peel your apples, as most of the phytochemicals are in the skin.

The fiber can slow digestion, so you feel fuller after eating. This can keep you from overeating. Eating fiber-rich foods helps control symptoms and lessens the effects of acid reflux. An apple’s fiber can also help with diarrhea and constipation.

Some studies show that plant chemicals and the fiber of an apple peel protect against blood vessel and heart damage. They also can help lower your cholesterol, and they might protect your cells’ DNA from something called oxidative damage, which is one of the things that can lead to cancer.

Research shows the antioxidants in apples can slow the growth of cancer cells. And they can protect the cells in your pancreas, which can lower your chances of type 2 diabetes.

Scientists also give apples credit for helping:

You don’t need to be concerned about the sugar in apples. Although they have carbs that affect your blood sugar, these carbs are different from other sugars that strip away fiber that’s good for you.

Apples are low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol. They don’t offer protein, but apples are a good source of vitamin C and fiber.

One medium apple has about:

  • 100 calories
  • 25 grams of carbohydrates
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 19 grams of sugar
  • A variety of strong antioxidants

Although apples do have health benefits, eating too many of them (like anything) can be bad for you. Too much fruit can cause you to gain weight.

There are a few other things to keep in mind:

Pesticides. Apples are one of the fruits that have high pesticide residues because bugs and disease are more likely to affect them. It’s always best to wash fruits like apples before you eat them.

Seeds. You might’ve also heard that eating apple seeds or the core is bad for you. The seeds do have chemicals that turn into cyanide in your body, but you would have to crush and eat many seeds for them to harm you. In fact, an average adult would have to eat at least 150 crushed seeds for a risk of cyanide poisoning. The seeds are actually rich in protein and fiber.

Interactions. Apple juice can interact with the allergy drug fexofenadine (Allegra). The juice makes it hard for your body to absorb the medicine.

When you’re buying apples, make sure they feel firm and heavy. The skin shouldn’t have bruises, cuts, or soft spots.

Apples are healthiest when eaten fresh and unpeeled. Cut apples turn brown quickly because of a process called enzymatic browning. The darkened fruit isn't harmful, but it may look less appealing. To prevent enzymatic browning, dip the apples in a lemon juice solution or use a commercial product.

Make sure to store apples in your refrigerator to keep them fresh longer. They can be stored at room temperature, but they’ll ripen much faster.

When you eat an apple, leave the skin on because it has more than half of the apple's fiber.

The types of apples that are best for baking are usually tart and slightly sweet varieties, including:

  • Granny Smith
  • Honeycrisp
  • Melrose
  • Braeburn

Juicy, sweet types are best if you’d rather eat your apple raw. These include:

  • Red Delicious
  • Gala
  • Fuji
  • McIntosh

Try these simple but healthy ways to eat more apples:

  • Add chopped apples and cranberries to a classic stuffing recipe.
  • Make a classic Waldorf salad by mixing apples, celery, grapes, and walnuts. Add a dab of mayo and serve on lettuce.
  • Add chopped apples to pancake batter for extra crunch and nutrition.
  • Fill the cavity of cored apples with nuts and spice for delicious baked apples.
  • Add chopped apples to your favorite tuna salad recipe.
  • Combine spinach with raisins and apples for a nutritious salad. Use apple cider vinegar for an ultra low-calorie dressing.
  • Eat sliced apples with peanut butter or sun butter.
  • Play around with apple and cheese pairings. Try blue cheese with Granny Smiths or cheddar with Galas.
  • Add chopped apples to cereal or oatmeal.
  • Bake apples with winter squash and spices for a unique side dish.

How long do apples last?

There are several factors that impact the shelf life of apples:

  • The type of apple
  • Stage of maturity at picking
  • Handling before properly storing
  • How soon they’re refrigerated

Some types of apple store well, while others are better if eaten quickly. The ideal storage temperature for apples is 30-32 F with 90%-95% relative humidity. Under these storage conditions, apples can last for many weeks to months, depending on the type:

  • Lodi: 1-2 weeks
  • Wealthy: 3-10 weeks
  • Cortland: 3-4 months
  • McIntosh: 3-4 months
  • Golden Delicious: 3-5 months
  • Jonathan: 3-5 months
  • Red Delicious: 3-5 months
  • Chieftain: 3-6 months

There are several things you can do in order to extend the shelf life of your apples:

  • Sort out the apples that you want to store.
  • Remove apples that have bruises, cuts, or signs of decay.
  • Eat larger apples sooner because smaller apples can be stored longer.
  • If possible, store apples in a drawer of your fridge where the temperature remains consistent.
  • If you can’t store your apples in the fridge, put them in a cooler or a basement that stays cool.

How long do apples last in the fridge?

Most apples will last 4-6 weeks in the fridge. Once cut, they will brown more quickly and won't last as long. Some apples can last longer in the fridge than others.

Show Sources


United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service: “Apples and oranges are America’s top fruit choices,” “Apples, raw, with skin,” “Household USDA Foods Fact Sheet: Apples, fresh.”

U.S. Apple Association: “History and Folklore,” “Apple Industry At-a-Glance,” “Popular Varieties,” “Apple Health Benefits.”

Nutrition Journal: “Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits.”

Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging: “Apple juice prevents oxidative stress and impaired cognitive performance caused by genetic and dietary deficiencies in mice.”

Advances in Nutrition: “A Comprehensive Review of Apples and Apple Components and Their Relationship to Human Health.”

Molecules: “Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response.”

Nutrients: “Nutritional and Health-Related Effects of a Diet Containing Apple Seed Meal in Rats: The Case of Amygdalin,” “Effects of Commercial Apple Varieties on Human Gut Microbiota Composition and Metabolic Output Using an In Vitro Colonic Model,” “Apples and Cardiovascular Health— Is the Gut Microbiota a Core Consideration?”

World Journal of Gastroenterology: “Fiber-enriched diet helps to control symptoms and improves esophageal motility in patients with non-erosive gastroesophageal reflux disease.”

International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders: “Diet Changes for GERD.”

American Diabetes Association: “Fruits.”

Ohio State University: “Grapefruit affects more medications.”

DailyMed: “FEXOFENADINE HCL- fexofenadine hcl tablet.”

Encyclopedia Britannica: “Why Do Sliced Apples Turn Brown?" “Can Apple Seeds Kill You?”

Environmental Working Group: “Dirty Dozen: EWG's 2020 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Apples, fresh, med.

Frontiers in Microbiology: “An Apple a Day: Which Bacteria Do We Eat With Organic and Conventional Apples?

Genetic Literacy Project: “Why organic apple farmers spray their trees with insecticides 32 times on average during each growing season.

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health: “The Nutrition Source: Apples," “Apples.”

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: “Phytochemicals and cancer: What you should know.

Trends in Food Science and Technology: “The cardiovascular health benefits of apples: Whole fruit vs. isolated compounds.

University of Illinois Extension: “Apples and More.

World's Healthiest Foods: “Apples.

Iowa State University: Horticulture and Home Pest News: “Harvesting and storing apples.”

View privacy policy, copyright and trust info