‘An Apple a day keeps the doctor away’ holds grounds because of the extremely nutritious richness of apples. Apples are a very abundant source of fiber which helps to keep the digestive system functional and efficient. This fiber also helps to lower the cholesterol levels in the body, thus bolstering heart health. Apples are also an excellent source of polyphenols.
So, what is the pH of an apple? Apples have a pH of 4, that falls in the acidic range. Therefore, apples are acidic. We can regard the reason for the acidity of the apples to malic acid in them. The pH of apple cider vinegar is in the range of 2-3 because of the vinegar mother present in it ie; very acidic. The pH of apple juice is very close to 3.5 unless we add any other agents that disturb this pH range.
In a more general sense, we can regard polyphenols as antioxidants, which can lower the risk of diabetes and a variety of different cancers.
Because of all these health benefits, we cultivate apples on a large scale. The global annual production of apples is 60 million metric tons.
We can use these apples in a variety of forms such as fresh fruit, apple cider vinegar, applesauce, apple juice, apple jelly, and apple butter.
The percentage of nutrients present differs depending upon ripening and the end process carried out.
The pH of edibles especially fruits is very fascinating to explore because of the health benefits they offer and thus pH can help to determine the overall richness of the fruits more indirectly by commenting on the maturity of fresh fruits and on the additives used for processing of apples to manufacture different products.
Therefore, it becomes necessary for us to determine the pH of apples, to quantify the nutritional value and thus the benefits.
What makes apples acidic in nature?
Apples are rich in malic acid, which makes the pH drop below 7 and mark apples as weakly acidic fruits.
Along with malic acid, there are certain basic or alkaline earth elements also present in apples such as calcium and magnesium.
These elements are very important in creating a subtle acidic-alkaline balance inside the human body when apples are consumed.
Different apples mark differences in the sweetness and sourness; this is owing to the changes in the concentration of malic acid because of the atmosphere in which the cultivation is being done, soil and water conditions, and the fertilizers used during cultivation.
The pH range is typically between 3-4, where 4 is more mature apples and 3 is for unripe apples.
Malic acid is a dicarboxylic acid that contributes to one of the reasons for the sour taste of various fruits.
It is very important for the human body as it is used in the Krebs cycle ie; the energy-making process of a living body.
Overconsumption of malic acid results in acidity and heartburns, however, in the case of apples they provide an alkaline atmosphere because of the presence of calcium and magnesium.
Therefore, the risk of acidity because of excessive production of gastric juices is reduced. It also recommends apples in case of hyperacidity because of the same reason.
The pH of apple cider vinegar and Apple juice
Apple cider vinegar is acidic, with a pH between 2-3. The presence of this acidity and the antioxidants in the vinegar is the major reason for its popularity in delivering wonderful health benefits, especially for the skin and hair.
Apple cider vinegar though acidic, behaves alkaline because of buffer systems when it is digested by the digestive process, which helps in maintaining the balance inside the gut and creates an environment suitable for pro bacterial growth. We call this process of metabolism ‘metabolic alkalosis’.
However, it is a very common belief that sipping on acidic apple cider vinegar makes your body alkaline, which is not correct because the human digestive system makes even more acidic products when acids are broken down,.
As a result, there is a drop in the body pH ie; the pH of the body becomes slightly more acidic.
However, the pH buffers present inside the human system have a tremendous capability that resists this change and keeps the environment in the alkaline conditions itself.
So it is not because of the breaking down of acidic products that creates an alkaline environment but it is because of the pH buffers which resist the change of drop in pH.
Talking about apple juice, the pH of apple juice falls between 3.4-3.5 to be very precise.
Traditionally, there were no preservation agents added to the apple juice as the acidity of the juice itself was sufficient in delivering the product with a good shelf-life.
In the present times, preservatives are being added to further increase the freshness of the juice for a longer time.
Sodium Benzoate is a very common preservative that is used in apple juice and is responsible for the pH drop.
Is Acidity of Apples Unpleasant/Bad for Human Health?
Apples don’t have an extreme pH because of which their consumption and the acidity associated with are not a problem for human health.
However, a lot depends on the individual, it is very rare to find people showing hyperacidity because of apple consumption.
Apples create a good acid-alkaline balance in the body because of the presence of alkaline elements such as calcium and magnesium along with malic acid.
Therefore, there is a very low risk of any acidity and heartburns because of excessive production of gastric juices or acid.
Are there any concerns with too much consumption of Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is much more acidic as compared to fresh apples, though apple cider vinegar has significant health benefits, there can be side effects as well if consumed excessively.
These side effects are major because of the acidic pH of apple cider vinegar, and some of these side effects are as follows –
- Erosion of tooth enamel–Because of the acidic pH, the enamel from the tooth erodes. There can be a loss of 1-20% of the minerals present in teeth because of the acidic vinegar if consumed excessively.
- Throat burns–This is very common among children and some adults too who have a very sensitive throat. It is because of the acetic acid present.
- Skin burns–When applied to the skin, it can cause burns because of the acidic nature. Hence should be used cautiously.
The pH of apples is 4 and depends on the ripeness and pH for apples is a very important parameter to check the quality of apples and thus is used to be a quality control measure or test for its sweetness.
Apple cider vinegar is a very important apple product and is acidic because of the presence of malic acid and vinegar broth.
However, the potential side effects cannot be blinded while looking at it. The tremendous health benefits of apples along with the acid-alkaline balance are the prime reason for studies of the pH of apples and apple products.