Apples protect better against cancer if you don't peel them
Apples are healthier if you eat them with skin. That is, if we are talking about red apples, such as Jonagold and Pink Lady. The peel of those apples contains more cancer-killing substances than the flesh of the fruit. Chinese nutritional scientists at Shaanxi Normal University came to this conclusion in a test-tube study published in Food & Function.
The researchers made extracts of Pink Lady apples and placed them in test tubes with MCF-7 and LoVo cancer cells. The researchers were not paid by an apple grower, but by the Chinese government.
In test tubes, apple extracts killed colon cancer cells and breast cancer cells. The peel extracts were found to be more effective cancer cell killers than the pulp extracts. The figure below refers to breast cancer cells.
Apoptosis = cell death.
The figure above, which relates to tests with colon cancer cells, shows that apple extracts kill cancer cells. The active substances in apples - especially the peel of apples - increase the production of free oxygen radicals and hydrogen peroxide in cancer cells. These are aggressive compounds that can trigger cells to kill themselves.
By the way, omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoids such as lutein and beta-carotene, do the same with cancer cells in in vitro studies.
"The results suggested that apple peel is a really good ingredient for anticancer effects as dietary food", the researchers conclude.
At the turn of the century, Wageningen and Egyptian plant scientists were already researching the health effects of apple peel. [wur.nl] This project showed that the peel of apples contains more healthy substances the redder the apples are.
Food Funct. 2015, 6, 3789.
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