Researchers recommend apple peel to protect against cancer

By Philippa Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cancer cells, Cancer

Apple peel may be more nutritious than apple flesh for people
trying to keep cancer at bay, according to researchers at the
Cornell Institute, New York, US.

Researchers from Cornell claim to have identified a dozen compounds called triterpenoids in apple peel that either inhibited or killed cancer cells in laboratory cultures. "We found that several compounds have potent anti-proliferative activities against human liver, colon and breast cancer cells and may be partially responsible for the anti-cancer activities of whole apples,"​ said Rui Hai Liu, Cornell associate professor of food science. He and his colleagues analyzed the peel from 230 pounds of red delicious apples and isolated their individual compounds. They then tested the pure compounds against cancer cell growth. Previous Cornell studies have shown that apples appear to fight cancer cells in the laboratory and reduce the number and size of mammary tumours in rats. This latest research has led Cornell researchers to suggest that the triterpenoids may be doing much of the anti-cancer work. "Some compounds were more potent and acted differently against the various cancer cell lines, but they all show very potent anti-cancer activities and should be studied further,"​ said Liu. Liu and his team have also previously identified compounds called phytochemicals - mainly flavonoids and phenolic acids - in apples and other foods that appeared to have similar anti-cancer properties and inhibit tumour growth in human breast cancer cells "We believe that a recommendation that consumers eat five to 12 servings of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily is appropriate to reduce the risks of chronic diseases, including cancer, and to meet nutrient requirements for optimum health,"​ concluded Liu. Researchers at Cornell also believe that apples could fight the neurodegenerative disease Alzheimer's disease. Apples remain one of the most popular fruits for European consumers who crunch their way through about 20 kilos of apples a year or around 1.5 apples a day, compared to their US counterparts who eat about nine kilos a year or one every four days. Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​ 30 May 2007, Volume 55, Issue 11, Pages 4366 - 4370 "Triterpenoids Isolated from Apple Peels Have Potent Antiproliferative Activity and May Be Partially Responsible for Apple's Anticancer Activity"​ Authors: R.H. Liu, X. He

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