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mccoy

One apple a day...

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Does the old adage on apples stem from a real nutrition insight inside popular wisdom? I gave it for granted. 

 

However, since when I installed the cronometer app in my iphone (one week now) I have fun in watching the macro and micronutrients introduced at any meals.

 

This morning I had 2 apples. One without skin, 150 grams. the other with skin, 200 grams. Total 350 grams. I went and check the micronutrients in cronometer but, to my chagrin, the apples contributed very little to minerals and vitamins. I mean, compared to a single persimmon I had the other day, it almost saturated my vitamin A RDA. Apples appear to be pretty poor in micronutrients. I added one banana (70 grams) and now, with 420 grams of fruit (almost one pound) my max minerals contribution is 8% RDA Magnesium and my max vitamins contribution is 24% vitamin C.  I really expected more from one fruit so much extolled by timeless popular wisdom.

 

Is the old adage obsolete? Is the role of fruit in general to offer just very digestible carbs? I've grown with the belief that fruit is the most healthy food available. Of course it depends on fruit, citrus is undoubtedly vitamin C rich and other fruits have their own virtues, but apples have been a disappointment. Unless the USDA database is not representative,  which just now occurred to me.

 

So, is apple overestimated or does it contain invaluable phenolic phytonutrients or maybe other unknown (so far) nutrients? Should we vary our intake of fruit to differentiate nutrients, but fruit is best eaten in season and typically that entails relatively large quantities of one or two varietes.

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Hi McCoy,

 

 

Though I think Dr. Gregor is often biased in his selection of evidence, I do find him interesting and worth reviewing.  You might find his comparison of 11 common fruits interesting: 

 

 

- Pea

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Keep in mind that the "apple a day keeps the doctor away" is not a very "old" adage - it's roughly 100 years old. It was created by the apple industry marketers in the early 1900's during the aftermath of prohibition, when the apple cider industry collapsed, and to compensate for the sales lost, they came up with that advertising slogan to promote the eating of apples:

 

https://www.quora.com/Idioms-Why-do-they-say-an-apple-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away

 

That said, the value of fruit is only incidentally in the mineral and vitamin content, but more speculatively in the phytochemical makeup and fiber content - as well, possibly, as a displacement for more unhealthy calories you would otherwise consume. Unfortunately, we don't have much in the way of studies proving the benefits of fruit based on any particular ingredient in any given fruit. What we do have are epidemiological studies and studies showing the impact of fruit consumption overall, which seems to be broadly positive as a rash of F&V studies show. That's still not proof positive of any particular fruit having a positive effect, much less one fruit over another. Berries are favored by some on account of a greater speculative phytochemical bang for the calorie buck compared to most fruit, including bananas, but it remains just that: speculation.

 

If the consumption of fruit is beneficial to health, apples seem a decent choice.

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Thanks Pea an tomBavoider for having restored my trust in apples. As it would turn out from the research cited by Dr Greger, apples, besides having a strong antioxidant effect, appear to be pretty powerful in checking cancer cell proliferation. The adage, although apparently not so old nor so unintersted, seems to be founded.

 

Apple season in the northern hemisphere has just started,  I'll make sure to load up my system with antioxidants and phytochemicals.

 

On the other side, my trust in oranges has declined a bit.

 

By the way, having observed the allegedly enormous anti-cancer properties of lemons, maybe I'll resume my former practice to drink pure lemon juice directly into the throat by a straw. I read in some other threads that some of you guys is already doing that, I think it was Dean Pomerleau .

Edited by mccoy

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I consider (based on science) apples to be a "superfood", especially the skin (if you want, you can only eat the skin and do something else with the rest).  I do not consider tracking standard micronutrients all that useful to a person eating a diverse plant based whole food diet, you will get everything you need without stressing or wasting time tracking.  There are much more important things to consider relative to the value of a given food.  See:  

Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits

The purpose of this paper is to review the most recent literature regarding the health benefits of apples and their phytochemicals, phytochemical bioavailability and antioxidant behavior, and the effects of variety, ripening, storage and processing on apple phytochemicals.

 

It includes: Health benefits of apples: epidemiological evidence

  Summary

Based on these epidemiological studies, it appears that apples may play a large role in reducing the risk of a wide variety of chronic disease and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in general. Of the papers reviewed, apples were most consistently associated with reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and type II diabetes when compared to other fruits and vegetables and other sources of flavonoids. Apple consumption was also positively associated with increased lung function and increased weight loss. 

And even more recently, it was discovered that apples boost brown fat.  (I think Dean may have posted a newer reference to another compound in apple skin that is also involved, over in the cold exposure thread).  This gives apples an even higher value from my perspective.

My ancestors came to America from Germany in the early 1800's and planted fields of apple trees (as did many Americans), and I've continued that practice in my own small yard.  I've even been trying to develop my own new varieties.  I highly recommend anyone with even a small patch of land, to plant fruit trees.  Coincidentally I was over at Lowes yesterday, they had a late shipment of fall fruit trees, and they were already on clearance - very nice big healthy trees still with leaves, for $17, great deal.

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Thanks, guys.

 

My take on this discussion starts with the suggestion that "An apple a day ..." originated due to apples representing the generic fruit.

 

Oranges compared may be considered by some to be less nutritious because most people eat apple peals but not orange peels. 

 

Adding the peels of oranges increases the USDA goodies of the fruit. Dr. Gregor ignoring this aspect may make oranges seem to be less healthy.  I even eat banana peels.  They are loaded with various nutrients and I have had no untoward effects.

 

True, the USDA database does not consider all the phytonutrients, but I do not think that obviates the need to be confident that our diets have RDAs.  I figure that by meeting our RDAs by eating a variety of foods, we are more likely to get a high amount of the other not-listed phytonutrients also.  True even for the USDA-reported nutrients vary with sources of foods, size of fruits for example, etcetera, and how each of our metabolisms handles the various nutrients, and then the effect of synergism and antagonism between nutrients and other food components are not considered, but eating many, mainly plant, different foods is the best that at least I can hope for.

Edited by AlPater

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@ gordo: very complete reference on apples, complete with the varieties richest in antioxidants. After reading the article I'll make sure not to skin the apples. Previously I foundextreme and biased Dr. Ron Rosedale's opinion to make fruit juices, discard the juice and eat the pulp but now it seems more conceptually founded (although still extreme). I'm still tracking micronutrients until I have a feel for the situation. Besides, I'm having fun with the cronometer app, as insane as it may sound!

 

@AlPAter:I definitely concur that the 'apple' definition might be a conceptual extrapolation to all the family of fruit. Ditto for your consideration on fruit with peels. On second thoughts, I'm going to start & eat orange with all their skin. I have a good supplier of oranges from Sicily who does not treat them on surface.

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A couple of months ago I switched to a single-meal-a-day, and 1600 cals/day.  Before that I was eating a lot of fruit.  If you believe that there is value in practicing a daily fasting routine (of at least 21 hours a day), it gets very hard to consume much fruit.  Now I just focus on berries.  I actually have 4 apple trees in my backyard, that I planted a couple of years ago.  If I get some apples from them I will have to make an exception.  Now my diet is primarily sweet potatoes, greens, oats, rice, beans, peanuts, some chocolate, and some other more exotic things like spirulina.

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