Healthy living

Gadzooks! Medieval apples "healthier than today's varieties"

an apple a day keeps the witch away Study contradicts recent Food Standards Agency claims

Organically grown apples from the 12th century have higher levels of health-giving plant compounds than modern non-organically grown rivals, such as Granny Smith, Royal Gala and Cox, according to a new study.

Pharmacist Michael Wakeman has been investigating the health properties of apples for decades. He has done this in orchards around the country where horticulturists have been bringing back to life 300 varieties of ancient English apples.

He found that the ancient variety outperformed 14 other types when it comes to the quality and quantity of healthy compounds found in the apple, from both the skin and the flesh.

The Pendragon apple contained 7 of the 8 kinds of healthy components at the highest levels - in contrast to non-organic apples which consistently had low levels and less major healthy components in both the flesh and the peel.

Next best were an organically grown variety of Golden Delicious, a cider apple called Collogett Pippin, and old Cornish and Devon apple varieties, Ben’s Red and Devonshire Quarrenden.

These results are in direct contrast to recent claims by the UK's Food Standards Agency that there were no measurable health benefits to be found in organic foods compared to non-organic versions - see here for details.

The results will be presented to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Annual Conference in Manchester.

This article was published on Wed 9 September 2009

Image © Anyka -

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