The old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" has taken on a deeper meaning. Researchers have discovered that a whole apple, especially the skin, may offer some anti-cancer benefits.
Specifically, apple skin may help to prevent colon cancer. Through studies, researchers have discovered that the skin of an apple contains various types of polyphenols, or antioxidants. The apple's cancer-fighting "power" may have derived from the procyanidins, a type of polyphenols, found in the skin that protects the fruits against the damaging effects of the sun. Procyanidins trigger signals that lead to cell suicide, thus reducing the growth and spread of cancer.
Researchers tested lab animals and found that procyanidins significantly reduced the number of precancerous lesions. The tests involved injecting rats with a substance to induce colon cancer and then feeding them a liquid containing apple-derived procyanidins.
After six weeks those rats receiving procyanidins had half the number of precancerous lesions in their colons than those rats on a regular diet.
In addition, apple skins contain high amounts of fiber. Consequently, increased fiber intake can reduce the incidence of bowel cancer. People who are at an increased risk of developing bowel cancer are those with diets low in:
Fiber, Fruit, Vegetables, Exercise
By making simple lifestyle changes, it is possible to reduce the risk of developing cancer by 30-40 percent. Researchers explain that acquiring the cancer-fighting benefits from apples is feasible for anyone. Apples are easy to put into a lunch and are inexpensive. Preferably organic apples are best. Also, apple cider is a good way to add procyanidins to a diet because it is mulled from whole apples.
Dr. Joseph Gitto, BA, DC, CFMP, FDN, CWC
331 Tilton Road, Northfield, NJ