Did an apple falling off a tree really lead to Sir Isaac Newton coming up with the theory of gravity? Was the longest-lived apple tree really 219 years old (apple trees rarely live longer than 80 years)? Three hundred plus years later, no one really knows whether these apple assertions are fact or fiction. One thing we do know, though, is that an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Really.
According to a recent study published in the journal BioMed Central, apples are great for the digestive system, as they unleash an array of beneficial bacteria that spread and attach to the body’s intestinal wall after consumption. The study’s lead author and researcher, Dr. Tine Rask Licht , says that the beneficial bacteria of apples provides “ideal conditions for ensuring a beneficial balance of microorganisms”. This is the very latest research about a fruit that seems to provide a bountiful harvest of benefits, bacterial and otherwise. For example, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2008 found that apple skins are rich in the compound triterpenoid. Triterpenoids have been shown to prevent the growth of cancer cells. This is music to the ears of cancer specialists and oncologists, but dentists and hygienists can’t get enough of apples either. That’s because they’re viewed as “nature’s toothbrush,” as the juice in apples shield the teeth from damage and massage the gums (i.e. the juice has what’s called an “astringent” effect).
And cardiologists absolutely adore apples, as a 2001 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that two apples a day prevented the deterioration of LDL particles. Excess oxidation of these particles is a precursor to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. There really is an orchard’s worth of benefits that apples provide for the body. As the healthful benefits continue to mount, perhaps it will be the springboard that finally propels the apple to the top of the heap as the country’s most profitable and valuable fruit (i.e. apples are a close second to the perennial leader as the country’s most profitable fruit, the one and only orange).