Nutrition IQ: Apples and Cancer Prevention
Do not underestimate the healing powers of the simple apple! Studies have shown that the more apples we consume, the greater protection we have against breast and prostate cancers. Since it is the skin of the apple that contains the anti-cancer compounds, opt for organic and don’t peel them before eating.
In a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and published in Nutrition and Cancer, apple peel extract was shown to kill prostate and breast cancer cells; the more apple peel extract consumed, the more those cancer cells ceased to thrive. The researchers discovered that a tumor suppressor gene called maspin was turned off in the cancer cells but turned back on when exposed to maspin in the apple peel extract.
Apples are at the very top of the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce list and have been found to contain residues from up to 40 different pesticides, so remember to purchase organic apples. (I think organic apples taste better too.)
If you don’t care for apple peels and normally discard them, try adding organic apple peels to your smoothies or chopping up unpeeled apples and adding them to muffin or cookie recipes in place of applesauce. I’ve done this many times! For every ½ cup of applesauce a recipe calls for, simply chop up a whole apple (discarding the core) and add it to a high-powered blender or food processor along with the other wet ingredients. The recipe will taste just the same as if you used applesauce and you’ll get the benefits of the whole apple peel! Here are two more tasty recipes to make with apples and their peels:
Talia Fuhrman, daughter of Joel Fuhrman M.D., has a B.A. in nutritional sciences from Cornell University and is currently working on a psychology, nutrition, and healthy recipe book for young women called Love Your Body to be published early next year. Visit her website taliafuhrman.com and her Facebook page for nutrition advice and yummy vegan recipes.