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What is the Healthiest Part of an Apple?

Traditionally, apple peels have been considered healthy because of their fiber content, as the peel contains about 75 percent of the dietary fiber in an apple.

But a recent study has shown that the peel also contains most of the beneficial phytochemicals responsible for apples' anticarcinogenic effects.

Scientists processed more than 200 pounds of Red Delicious apples, and extracted phytochemicals from about 24 pounds of peel. They screened the compounds for anti-cancer effects in laboratory cultures of human liver, breast, and colon cancer cells, and identified a group of compounds with potent anti-cancer properties.

Specifically, 13 triterpenoids from the peels of Red Delicious apples were identified and confirmed to be highly effective against cancer. Exactly how and why these biochemicals seek and destroy cancer cells is still unknown.

Apple consumption has previously been linked to a reduced risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Vol. 55, No. 11, May 30, 2007: 4366-4370

Science Daily May 22, 2007

WedMD May 18, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Your mother was right when she told you not to peel your apples.

Considering all the good grape seeds and grape skins can do for your health -- even though many people don't eat them -- I'm not at all surprised to learn the many health benefits derived from apples may also be contained in the peel of the fruit.

The phytochemicals in apple peels contain natural antioxidants. When your body goes lacking in vital antioxidants, your immune system starts taking a pounding, your energy and stamina go down, and free radical damage starts to occur. Changing your diet to include higher levels of raw foods, in combination with proper exercise, can clearly and significantly reduce your chances of developing cancer.

Some other high-ranking antioxidant food sources include:

Red Delicious apples, the type used in the above study, are the most common variety here in the United States and are easy to find. Just remember, fruit consumption is dependent on your unique nutritional type, and should be balanced with plenty of vegetables.

Be very careful to avoid consuming conventionally-grown apples, however, as they are among the "Dirty Dozen" fruits and vegetables cited by the Environmental Working Group as containing the most pesticides. Stick with organic apples, ideally bought from local growers living near you.

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