New year’s resolutions often include drastic intentions which often come to nothing as they demand too big a change. An easy and effective way is to commit to eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and, especially those that help reduce free-radicals which cause oxidisation – nature’s own anti-rust.
Combatting inflammation seems to be the current health focus and the good news is that apples, especially red ones, are very high in phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid which are proven to reduce oxidisation and, consequently, inflammation.
Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing quality manager, Henk Griessel, is a biologist to whom the benefits of apples and pears are well known.
“In the study, Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits by Jeanelle Boyer and Rui Hai
Liu, published in the Nutrition Journal, BMC, part of publishers Springer Nature, evidence suggests that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and phytochemicals including phenolics, flavonoids and carotenoids from fruits and vegetables may play a key role in reducing chronic disease risk,” he says.
According to Mr Griessel, the study confirms that apples are a widely consumed, rich source of phytochemicals, and epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes.
In the laboratory, apples have been found to have very strong antioxidant activity, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation, and lower cholesterol.
Apples contain a variety of phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, all of which are strong antioxidants.
The phytochemical composition of apples varies greatly between different varieties of apples, and there are also small changes in phytochemicals during the maturation and ripening of the fruit.
Storage has little to no effect on apple phytochemicals, but processing can greatly affect apple phytochemicals.
While extensive research exists, a literature review of the health benefits of apples and their phytochemicals is yet to be compiled to summarise this work.
The purpose of the Jeanelle Boyer and Rui Hai Liu paper is to review the literature regarding the health benefits of apples and their phytochemicals, phytochemical bioavailability and antioxidant behaviour, and the effects of variety, ripening, storage and processing on apple phytochemicals.
“The antioxidant properties of apples and pears aside, these fruits are also high in water and in natural fibre which hydrate and help eliminate toxins all of which is more good news,” Mr Griessel says.