Background: The apple is among the most consumed fruits in the world and several studies suggest that apple polyphenols could play a role in preventing degenerative diseases. Recent studies have shown that polyphenols possess a high antioxidant and/or anti-proliferative power, therefore their food intake could play a decisive role in the prevention of various pathologies, in particular those associated with the production of free radicals. The Annurca apple (MelAnnurca), a variety from southern Italy, is called the "queen of apples" due to its remarkable organoleptic qualities: taste, flavor and aroma. The Annurca apple is a constituent component of the Mediterranean diet and its potential health benefit could be attributed to a large amount of bioactive components; in fact, this apple is characterized by an extremely high content of polyphenols.
Objective: The aim of this paper was to review the most recent literature regarding the health benefits of Annurca apples and their phytochemicals. In particular, this review highlighted the effects of the flesh of this fruit on different types of human cells.
Methods: A literature research was performed using the keywords “Annurca”, “apple”, “flesh”, “fruit”, “polyphenols”, “nutrition”, “nutraceuticals”, individually or all together, in Scopus, Web of Science and PubMed.
Results: The MelAnnurca apple has a higher content of bioactive compounds (polyphenols) than other apples, making it an ideal source of nutraceuticals. Both the cytotoxic activity and the antioxidant effect of the extracts of polyphenols obtained from its flesh have been highlighted.
Conclusion: These results give new insights for future implementation of the production chain of the Annurca apple in the area of Campania, Southern Italy. However, although evidence to support the health benefits of MelAnnurca apple polyphenols is rapidly accumulating, further human studies may be needed before the public is convinced and willing to incorporate the apple Annurca into their diet, accepting the idea that the integration of polyphenols has a beneficial effect on the health of the human body.
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