Posted on Sun, 4 Apr 10
The anticancer effects of apples are perhaps more pronounced than any other type of fruit or vegetable. Eating more than one apple a day for example could cut your colorectal cancer risk in half.
Bite sized nutrition
Apples are a rich source of several naturally occurring chemicals that have anti-cancer effects, which may explain why previous studies have found that people who regularly eat apples have a lower risk for certain types of cancer (1). Apples it seems may have a more potent protective effect than many other fruits.
Apples and cancer prevention
Fruits and vegetables are known to protect against cancer, apples however seem to be a stand out amongst the plant kingdom having demonstrated to be more protective than most individual foods (2). In an investigation into the protective effects of fruits and vegetables on colorectal cancer it was found that apples had a significant effect at just one a day, however those who ate more than one apple a day lowered their cancer risk by about 50%. No such effect was found for any other fruits or vegetables (3).
Getting the most out of your apples
The major concentration of anti-cancer chemicals is found in the apple peel or skin, however because conventionally farmed apples are one of the most likely fruits to have pesticide residues on their skin organically grown apples are best (4). Of all apple varieties Fuji, Red Delicious and Gala are amongst the richest in phytochemicals (2). And, like most fruit and vegetables, apples are best enjoyed unadulterated, fresh and raw.
1. Gerhauser C. Cancer chemopreventive potential of apples, apple juice, and apple components. Planta Med. 2008 Oct;74(13):1608-24.
2. Boyer J, Liu RH. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr J. 2004 May 12;3:5.
3. Jedrychowski W, Maugeri U, Popiela T,et al. Case-control study on beneficial effect of regular consumption of apples on colorectal cancer risk in a population with relatively low intake of fruits and vegetables. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2010 Jan;19(1):42-7.
4. Environmental Working Group. Shoppers Guide to Pesticides. www.foodnews.org. Accessed on-line; 05-04-2010.