Eating apples regularly is associated with reducing the risk of developing colorectal cancer, according to new research from Poland. The study found that those who ate one or more apples a day nearly halved their risk of developing the disease.
The tests compared 592 patients suffering from the disease with 765 patients without it at the same hospital.
Research concluded that those with cancer had eaten 9.5 servings of the fruit a week, compared to those without the disease, who had 11 servings a week.
A reduced risk was observed with those who ate one apple a day, while eating more than one apple a day reduced the risk by about half.
They found that eating other fruit or vegetables did not have the same effects on the risk of colorectal cancer.
The researchers said the protective properties of apples may be as a result of their high content of beneficial nutrients:
"The observed protective effect of apple consumption on colorectal risk may result from their rich content of flavonoid and other polyphenols, which can inhibit cancer onset and cell proliferation."
These act as antioxidants and are found concentrated in the skin of apples, preventing free radicals from inflicting damage on tissue, which can inhibit the onset or further development of cancer.
Antioxidants were five times more prevalent in the apple skin than the actual flesh - so wash, but do not peel apples before eating if they are organic.
Apples are also rich in a soluble fiber known as pectin, which is excellent for digestion and detoxification. It has cleansing properties and protects the arteries as well as helping to remove toxic heavy metals from the body.
Apples are also high in Vitamin C, which boosts the immune system, and research shows that apple juice can kill a wide range of viruses.
The sugar in apples in mostly fructose, so it is broken down slowly in the body and helps maintain blood sugar at a steady level, thus avoiding sugar cravings.
Research paper details:
Wieslaw J, Umberto M, Tadeusz P, 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. European Journal of cancer Prevention: January 2010 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - pp 42-47.