An apple a day keeps the doctor away

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Apples help reduce free radicals, which cause oxidisation, making them nature’s own anti-rust solution. Red apples, especially, are very high in phytochemicals, which are proven to reduce oxidisation and, consequently, inflammation.

The benefits of apples (and pears) are well known to Tru-Cape’s quality manager and biologist Henk Griessel. “Evidence in a study by Jeanelle Boyer and Rui Hai Liu titled Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits, which was published in the Nutrition Journal, suggests that a diet high in fruit and vegetables may decrease the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and that phytochemicals such as phenolics, flavonoids and carotenoids from fruit and vegetables may play a key role in reducing chronic disease risk,” he says.

Phytochemical powerhouses

According to Griessel, the study confirms that apples are a widely consumed, rich source of phytochemicals. Epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes.

In the laboratory, apples have been found to have very strong antioxidant activity, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation, and lower cholesterol. Apples also contain a variety of phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, phlorizin and chlorogenic acid, all of which are strong antioxidants.

The phytochemical composition of apples varies greatly between different varieties and small changes in phytochemicals also occur during the maturation and ripening of the fruit. While storage has little to no effect on apple phytochemicals, processing can greatly affect phytochemical composition.

More good news

While extensive research exists, a literature review of the health benefits of apples and their phytochemicals is yet to be compiled to summarise this work. The purpose of Boyer and Liu’s paper is to review the literature regarding the health benefits of apples and their phytochemicals, phytochemical bioavailability and antioxidant behaviour, and the effects of variety, ripening, storage and processing on apple phytochemicals.

“The antioxidant properties aside, apples (and pears) are high in water and natural fibre, which hydrates and helps eliminate toxins, all of which is more good news,” says Griessel. – Press release, Tru-Cape