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The most nutritious apple?


Gordo
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For me its apple grafting and pollinator bee season. I was doing a little research on varieties with the highest phenol content when an expert told me about Pendragon:

 

800-year-old apple 'healthiest to eat'

 

I need to find scion wood for this variety.  Currently I do not grow any red fleshed apples but have been wanting to.

 

-Gordo

 

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I wouldn't waste any time digging this up: "The increase in human plasma antioxidant capacity after apple consumption is due to the metabolic effect of fructose on urate, not apple-derived antioxidant flavonoids" ;) . " And even that increase doesn't seem to add up to much: "When six healthy volunteers ate five apples and plasma was obtained up to 4 h after apple consumption, no significant increases in the resistance to oxidation of endogenous urate, α-tocopherol, and lipids were found. Thus, despite the high antioxidant capacity of individual apple polyphenols and apple extracts and the significant antioxidant effects of apple extract added to human plasma in vitro, ingestion of large amounts of apples by humans does not appear to result in equivalent in vivo antioxidant effects of apple polyphenols." ANd "The regular consumption of a polyphenol-rich apple does not influence endothelial function."

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ANd "The regular consumption of a polyphenol-rich apple does not influence endothelial function."

For influence, you may dip sacred apples into melted and non-biblical dark chocolate for endothelial love; but, um, sugar content may attenuate endothelial love while both sugar and the sugar-free preparations may augment cadmium, lead, or both.

 

Meanwhile, Trump won't end California’s Prop 65 Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, will he, since he's a federal employee?

 

Oh what the hell, eat chocolate covered apples: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18614724/

Edited by Sthira
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I wouldn't waste any time digging this up: "The increase in human plasma antioxidant capacity after apple consumption is due to the metabolic effect of fructose on urate, not apple-derived antioxidant flavonoids" ;) . " And even that increase doesn't seem to add up to much: "When six healthy volunteers ate five apples and plasma was obtained up to 4 h after apple consumption, no significant increases in the resistance to oxidation of endogenous urate, α-tocopherol, and lipids were found. Thus, despite the high antioxidant capacity of individual apple polyphenols and apple extracts and the significant antioxidant effects of apple extract added to human plasma in vitro, ingestion of large amounts of apples by humans does not appear to result in equivalent in vivo antioxidant effects of apple polyphenols." ANd "The regular consumption of a polyphenol-rich apple does not influence endothelial function."

 

Thanks for the study links.  I'm thinking though there is a difference between "FRAP" (antioxidant) and actual "phenol bioavailability".  The "antioxidant" theory is suspect in general, there is a lot of solid literature on this and numerous reputable clinical trials and studies.  It seems that the health promoting power of high phenol foods lies in other mechanisms but for some reason researchers still want to look at FRAP.  Your last study may be more important, but all it tells me is that eating an apple a day for 4 weeks doesn't improve brachial artery flow-mediated dilation.  Should we be expecting any food with bioavailable phenols to improve brachial artery flow-mediated dilation? If so, why?  Maybe the phenols in apples are bioavailable but do something different than the phenols in for example, extra virgin olive oil?

 

I just did a quick pubmed search using keywords "apple" and "vivo" to see what was out there, here is a sample of results returned just from "page 1":

 

Apple Polyphenol Phloretin Inhibits Colorectal Cancer Cell Growth via Inhibition of the Type 2 Glucose Transporter and Activation of p53-Mediated Signaling.

The antitumor effect of Ph (25 mg/kg or DMSO twice a week for 6 weeks) was demonstrated in vivo using BALB/c nude mice bearing COLO 205 tumor xenografts. In conclusion, targeting GLUT2 could potentially suppress colorectal tumor cell invasiveness.

 

Apple pectin: A natural source for cancer suppression in 4T1 breast cancer cells in vitro and express p53 in mouse bearing 4T1 cancer tumors, in vivo.

"In vivo studies showed that pectic acid could inhibit the progression of tumors through over-expression of P53 and increasing the number of apoptotic cells.

CONCLUSION:

Our results demonstrated that pectic acid, a natural component of apple, can prevent metastasis in both cancer cell lines and primary tumors. This potential effect is mainly due to its ability to induce apoptosis."

 

Quercetin [extracted from apples and onions] attenuates high fructose feeding-induced atherosclerosis by suppressing inflammation and apoptosis via ROS-regulated PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.

"our results showed that quercetin inhibited atherosclerotic plaque development in high fructose feeding mice via PI3K/AKT activation regulated by ROS."

 

 

The following does not address the question of bioavailability but supports the idea that something other than antioxidant activity is going on... 

Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables: a study of cellular availability and direct effects on human DNA

"In summary, the new data presented here demonstrate a DNA protective agent being present in at least some fruits and vegetables [apples included] that was heat sensitive and not ascorbic acid. Further study is required to identify the active ingredient(s) providing the genoprotective efiects."

 

 

I also stumbled upon this interesting site with links to many studies related to apple polyphenols categorized under:

Aging Allergies Alzheimer's Asthma Bioavailability Breast Cancer Catalase CVD Cholera Cholesterol Colon Cancer Dermatitis Diabetes Fat Loss Hair Growth Heart Disease Lung Cancer Prostate Cancer

Skin Cancer

 

Cardiovascular disease

  Highlights:

  • The first ever double-blind placebo controlled human trial of apple polyphenol extracts and cholesterol shows "significant reduction" in LDL and total cholesterol. An interview with researchers on the details of this groundbreaking study will be available soon.

  • In a lucid and important presentation, Cornell scientists outline a new approach to treating high cholesterol, and conclude that "apple phytochemicals can potentially improve human cardiovascular health by both lowering blood LDL cholesterol and preventing LDL oxidation."

  • Research from Cornell University suggests "a strong link between dietary intake of apple phenolics and flavonoids and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease."

  • Two more human study reported that apple juice and apple polyphenol extracts reduced plasma LDL oxidation in healthy volunteers.

  • German researchers reported in February that phloretin, an apple polyphenol, reduces arterial platelet aggregation and adhesion, and may have a beneficial effect in both the onset and progression of cardiovascular disease.

  • In a large-scale human study in Finland, researchers found that consumption of phytochemicals from apples and onions, but not other fruits and vegetables, was associated with fewer deaths by heart disease, and fewer deaths overall.

New Clinical Trial: Serum Cholesterol-Lowering Effect of Apple Polyphenols in Healthy SubjectsJournal of Oleo Science, Vol. 54 (2005) , No. 3 143-151 Newly Posted Studies: Cardioprotective potentials of apple phytochemicals in LDL oxidation and LDL receptor expression Cornell Institute of Food Science Symposium, May 22-24 2005 Differential inhibition of oxidized LDL-induced apoptosis in human endothelial cells treated with different flavonoidsBr J Nutr, May 1, 2005; 93(5): 581-91. Chronic treatment with flavonoids prevents endothelial dysfunction in spontaneously hypertensive rat aortaJ Cardiovasc Pharmacol, Jul 2005; 46(1): 36-40. The Flavonoid Phloretin Suppresses Stimulated Expression of Endothelial Adhesion Molecules and Reduces Activation of Human PlateletsJ. Nutr. 135:172-178, February 2005 Flavonoid intake and coronary mortality in Finland: a cohort studyBMJ. 1996 Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicalsAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003 Apple Juice Consumption Reduces Plasma Low-Density Lipoprotein Oxidation in Healthy Men and Women, Journal of Medicinal Food, 2000 Novel low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation model: antioxidant capacity for the inhibition of LDL oxidationJ Agric Food Chem. 2004 Flavonoid intake and risk of chronic diseasesAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002 Apple juice inhibits human low density lipoprotein oxidationLife Sci. 1999 Apple and pear peel and pulp and their influence on plasma lipids and antioxidant potentials in rats fed cholesterol-containing dietsJ Agric Food Chem. 2003 Comparative content of some bioactive compounds in apples, peaches and pears and their influence on lipids and antioxidant capacity in ratsJ Nutr Biochem. 2002

Effects of commonly consumed fruit juices and carbohydrates on redox status and anticancer biomarkers in female ratsNutr Cancer. 2003

 

 

From the same site, I found this interesting - apple polyphenols apparently have rare, high water solubility:

 

Antioxidant Component and Biological Regulatory Functions in Apple Polyphenols

Akio Yanagida, Institute for Product Research and Development, Nikka Whiskey Distilling Company, Ltd., Chiba Prefecture, Japan

(Mr. Yanagida is a principal member of product research and development for this Japanese company, a leader in the development of extraction, purification, and commercial applications of apple polyphenol extracts in Japan. We have obtained this unpublished paper through private channels.)

Excerpts: "Apples contain high concentrations of polyphenol compounds that have high water solubility."

"Another characteristic of apple condensed tannins (ACT, catechin polymers) is significantly higher water solubility compared to catechin monomers. In general, many plant polyphenols are water-insoluble, and polyphenols with easy solubility in pure water are quite rare. Thus, this ACT characteristic is especially noteworthy."

Edited by Gordo
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Hey Gordo, I agree with you wrt. polyphenols 100% - the antioxidant stuff is almost irrelevant. And thank you for all those links. Now, I think it very commendable that you disregard in vitro results, as that has proven to be pretty much useless as a guide to what we should practice diet wise. However, from long experience, I'd point out that the same unfortunately obtains for some other stuff that you do cite. I have not read all your links as there is a ton of them, but I personally don't believe there is much practical value for us from any study that is done in rodents (or worse, such as flies and worms) - there has been so many results from animals that just never translate to humans, that for practical pointers about diet/lifestyle, I just completely disregard them, same as in vitro results. Results in animals (as well as in vitro) may be valuable to scienists looking for pointers for more research and hints about theories, but to us, for practical guidance in everyday life, it's pretty much 100% useless, IMHO. Next, I noticed that a bunch of your links are about polyphenol extracts, not from consumption of the whole fruit. Again, I tend to be very skeptical about those. You have no idea about the technical aspects of how those extracts were obtained, exact protocol and dosages and so on. That's what makes even getting supplements based on such things quite tricky - supp manufacturers may have completely different protocols for production, and basically it's a gamble. So unless they tested very clearly defined supplements based on those extracts and those are available for purchase, then I'm not terribly interested in such results, because how do they apply to my life? Meanwhile, if I eat an apple, those questions don't arise. And I'd be cautious about relying on an extract or one phytochemical as a good stand in or substitute for whole fruit - the majority of such efforts don't seem to translate very well into results compared to whole fruit, and we've seen many, many such failures when f.ex. high serum beta carotene was associated with health, but only when consumed from food, and were detrimental when obtained from supplements, same for tons others, including vitamins and minerals... why do you think it's any different with polyphenols? So I'm not interested in hearing about how lycopene in tomatoes is good for me so I should take lycopene supplements, instead I'll eat the tomato, because I suspect that lycopene might function well only in the food matrix with other elements in the F&V instead of on its own.

 

There was an interesting study from years ago, which unfortunately I can't locate at the moment, but it was done on apple juice, whole apple and apple skin. The theory was that since the most valuable part of the apple (from a health point of view) was the skin, consuming the weight equivalent of skin vs whole apple would be better - but instead, they found the best result when the whole apple was included, which meant a lot of additional fructose from the pulp. Now, nobody thinks that it's the fructose that is the healthy element, so we should consume fructose. What it means is that there is some kind of interaction between the skin polyphenols and the fructose, or other elements in the pulp that really deliver the best overall health effect. In other words, it's a mistake to just do an extract of some element that you suspect is responsible for the bennies, instead, it's the whole matrix and the interaction and how they modify each other and that holistic effect is what's really key.

 

Bottom line, the studies I'd look for is (1) in humans in vivo (2) using whole apples as we eat them. Discard in vitro, in animals, various extracts etc.

 

And a word about unpublished studies/findings - I'm really a skeptic about those. It's by definition something you cannot vet. It has not undergone peer review. You have no idea about how well the study was designed and the integrity of the results. That's not even getting into possible agendas, especially from scientists who might have a commercial intereste in flogging the resulting supplements based on such (that's one reason why I disregard everything David Sinclair does, as to me he's a 100% commerical enterprise). 

 

Well designed studies in humans using real apples. That's the minimum. I say minimum, because ultimately it's not about the apples by themselves, but about the diet - the same food (say, apple) will function differently depending on the rest of your diet - there are treshold effects for example, and many interactions with other elements of the diet and even lifestyle. But we'll never have a study isolating the effects of apple consumptions in people who are exactly like us, so that's a moot point. However, the least we can do is at a minimum do those studies in humans using real apples. All IMHO.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Daily Apple versus Dried Plum: Impact on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Postmenopausal Women

published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers evidence that consuming a modest amount of dried apples and plums (prunes) can lower cardiovascular disease risk by improving lipids and reducing inflammation. The authors state…

 

“Evidence suggests that consumption of apple or its bioactive components 
modulate lipid metabolism and reduce the production of proinflammatory molecules
. However, there is a paucity of such research in human beings…Hence, we conducted a 1-year clinical trial to evaluate the effect of 
dried apple vs dried plum consumption in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors
 in postmenopausal women.”

 

 

 

They randomly assigned 160 qualified postmenopausal women to one of two groups: dried apple (75 g/day) or dried plum (comparative control). While documenting physical activity and diet the collected fasting blood samples at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months to measure various cardiovascular disease risk markers. The data showed that both dried apples and dried plums were helpful in their own way:

 

“…
women who consumed dried apple lost 1.5 kg body weight
 by the end of the study, albeit not significantly different from the dried plum group. In terms of cholesterol, serum total cholesterol levels were significantly lower in the dried apple group compared with the dried plum group only at 6 months…women who consumed dried apple had 
significantly lower serum levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein
 cholesterol by 9% and 16%, respectively, at 3 months compared with baseline. These serum values were further decreased to 13% and 24%, respectively, after 6 months but stayed constant thereafter. The within-group analysis also reported that 
daily apple consumption profoundly improved atherogenic risk ratios
, whereas there were no significant changes in lipid profile or atherogenic risk ratios as a result of dried plum consumption. 
Both dried fruits were able to lower serum levels of lipid hydroperoxide and C-reactive protein
. However, 
serum C-reactive protein levels were significantly lower in the dried plum group compared with the dried apple group
 at 3 months.”

 

 

So both were successful in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors including ‘bad’ cholesterol and markers of inflammation. The authors conclude.

“There were no significant differences between the dried apple and dried plum groups in altering serum levels of 
atherogenic cholesterols
 except total cholesterol at 6 months. However, when within treatment group comparisons are made, 
consumption of 75 g dried apple (about two medium-sized apples) can significantly lower atherogenic cholesterol levels as early as 3 months
. Furthermore, consumption of 
dried apple and dried plum are beneficial to human health in terms of anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties
.”

 

 

Edited by Gordo
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  • 4 months later...

My season starts in August and ends in November. Pretty good year.

 

Apple story: I visited a small historic village about 7 hours drive from me that was once very well known in the 1800's for its cider making. Their records show that they grew over 150 varieties of apple. I found some old remnants of their orchard but only a few trees remain and they were in bad shape, not producing. 5 years ago I took cuttings from those trees and grafted them to a semi-dwarf rootstock and left them with the town gardener (they have a huge public garden, mostly flowers, they do weddings there and get many visitors). Anyway, upon my recent visit the gardener said he planted the 2 grafts that survived and he was very excited that the trees were producing apples for the first time. They looked great. Nice to preserve an old variety no one else probably has. They were full size tart and sweet the kind I prefer.

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