The old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away is being consolidated by research scientists in every which way. The latest pronouncement on the subject is an addition that an apple a day slashes the risk of developing up to 5 types of cancer. Scientists found that people who are eating at least one a day were much less likely to get lung, bowel, mouth, digestive tract or breast tumours than those who rarely or never ate the fruit.
A review of more than 40 previous studies investigating diet and cancer found that the biggest benefits were seen in cancers of the stomach and oesophagus, with some data suggesting apples nearly halved tumour risk. Scientists from the University of Perugia in Italy found that lung tumour rates among apple lovers were about 25% lower, while breast cancer cases were cut by a fifth. In a report on their results they said: ‘This provides convincing evidence of the protective ability of apples against lung, bowel, mouth, digestive tract and breast cancers. But more studies will be needed to clarify the effects in other anatomical sites.’
A healthy diet including fruit and vegetables has long been thought to have a protective effect against types of cancer. But there has been little evidence on which confers the most benefit. The researchers, whose results are published in the journal Public Health Nutrition said: ‘Our interest was attracted to apples as they are the most consumed fruit in European countries and a rich source of phytochemicals. These are naturally occurring plant substances thought to have potent ante-cancer properties. Apples are also high in flavonoids, compounds that are thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. ‘
In my humble reckoning it’s far better to indulge in such a diet than constantly become addicted to popping medicinal pills in order to fend off one disease at the risk of causing another.
What nature provides is always the better option.