Review Study Provides Even More Reasons to Enjoy Apples

A major review study published in the Nutrition Journal provides dozens of reasons to enjoy an apple every day. Apples were found to be most consistently associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and type 2 diabetes when compared to other fruits and vegetables. In addition, eating apples was also associated with increased lung function and increased weight loss.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Apples are a rich and very important source of phytonutrients, including flavonoids and phenols, in the American diet and in Europe. In the United States, 22% of the phenolic compounds consumed from fruits come from apples, making them the largest source of phenols in the American diet.

When compared to other fruits, apples ranked second in total concentration of phenolic compounds, and perhaps more importantly, had the highest portion of free phenols. Since free phenols are not bound to other compounds in the fruit, they may be more available for absorption into the bloodstream.

Apples are also an excellent source of antioxidants, and when compared to many other commonly consumed fruits in the United States, were found to have the second highest level of antioxidant activity. Many of the phytonutrients found in apples, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, are strong antioxidants.

The total antioxidant activity of 100 grams of whole apple (with the peel) was found to be equivalent to the antioxidant effect of about 1500 mg of vitamin C. (However, the amount of vitamin C in 100 g of apples is only about 5.7 mg. Nearly all of the antioxidant activity from apples comes from a variety of other compounds.)

Whole apples, especially their peels, have been found to have a number of powerful antioxidant effects, one of which is to protect VLDL and LDL ("bad") cholesterol from oxidation.

Apples' protective effects against free radical damage to cholesterol reach their peak at three hours following apple consumption and drop off after 24 hours, providing yet another good reason to eat a whole fresh apple a day.

In animal studies, apples have also been shown to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol while raising beneficial HDL cholesterol. Not only did the laboratory animals in these studies produce less cholesterol, but they also excreted more in their feces when fed apples, pears and peaches-but apples had the greatest cholesterol-lowering effect.

In the most recent studies, investigators found that the combination of apple pectin and apple phenols lowered cholesterol and triglycerides to a much greater extent than either apple pectin or phenols alone.

Apples have also been shown to greatly inhibit the growth of liver and colon cancer cells in several studies. In one study, at a dose of 50 mg/ml, liver cancer cell proliferation was inhibited by 39% by extracts of whole Fuji apple and 57% by whole Red Delicious extracts. In another study in which colon cancer cells were treated with apple extracts, cell proliferation was inhibited 43% at a dose of
50 mg/ml.


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