Apples - the good, the bad & the ugly truth

August 15, 2014

The good – eating apples greatly reduces cancer risk
The Bad – if you’re over 35 years old & eat apples, you have an increased risk of dental cavities!
The Ugly – Australia doesn’t regularly test the residue of pesticides used on apples

 

THE GOOD
A hospital-based, case-control study published in 2005 included over 6000 participants from various regions in Italy and examined the association between fresh apple intake and risk of cancer. It was found that consuming one or more medium-sized apples (166 g)/d was associated with a reduction in risk of cancer compared to consumption of less than 1 apple per day.   Types of cancer reduced by apple consumption included (percentage reduction in brackets);

• oral cavity and pharynx (18%)
• oesophagus (22%)
• colorectal (30%)
• larynx (41%)
• breast (24%)
• ovary (24%)
• prostate (7%)
Reference - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183591/

THE BAD
Farm workers employed by apple-producing, grape-producing and grain (control) producing farms in low fluoride areas (F less than 0.10 ppm) were investigated. The caries incidence was found to be the highest for the apple group (24.2), lower for the grape group (17.4), and the lowest for the control group (9.9). The caries incidence differed statistically significantly (P less than 0.01) among the three groups. A higher caries incidence was found in the group of older subjects (35+ years) than in the 15-34 year old group. Consumption of a high amount of apples, (and to a lesser degree grapes), contributed significantly to dental caries. However, the above fruits had a beneficial effect on the periodontal status.
Reference - Grobler, S. R., et al. The effect of a high consumption of apples or grapes on dental caries and periodontal disease in humans. Clin Prev Dent. 11(1):8-12, 1989.

THE UGLY
LACK OF TESTING – here’s a snapshot of what happens in Australia
95% of imported fruit and vegetables come into Australia with no independent testing for pesticide residues.
The ACT, SA & Tasmania currently do not test fruits and vegetables for pesticide residues.
The Queensland Department of Primary Industry (DPI) tests samples regularly from suppliers, but doesn’t test fruits and vegies from retailers (produce from farmer’s markets is occasionally tested).
While pesticides are meant to be under the safe limits for humans in fruits and vegies in Australia, the lack of consistent testing means you may be getting more than your share and raising your risk of cancer and other diseases.   While peeling apples removes most of the pesticide residue, good chemicals like polyphenols (responsible for most of the anticancerous effects) are then lost as well.   If you can't grow your own apples, buying organic helps by giving you the good chemicals while avoiding the ugly ones.
Source - Australian Choice Magazine - source - Australian Choice Magazine – link http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/food-and-health/food-and-drink/safety/pesticides-in-fruit-and-veg.aspx

So, eat 1-2 organic or peeled apples a day, but brush your teeth afterwards, especially if you're over 35!

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