Posted by Neharika Sabharwal on February 20, 2009

Ithaca, February 20: Greek mythology had credited apple for healing god Apollo, which is perhaps the source for the modern-day proverb, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Now, a new research has established new potential benefits of the fruit in inhibiting or killing cancerdefine cells.

Rui Hai Liu of the University of Cornell in Ithaca declared that his six studies published in the previous year exhibit evidence that apples slowed the rate and size of mammary tumors in rats. Also, the more the apple extracts they were administered, the more significant was the inhibition.

“We not only observed that the treated animals had fewer tumors, but the tumors were smaller, less malignant and grew more slowly compared with the tumors in untreated rats,” said Liu.

Researchers conducted a 24-week study. They discovered that apple extract slowed the growth of adenocarcinomadefine tumors in rats, which is one of the biggest causes of breast cancerdefine deaths.

It was observed that cancer developed in 57 percent of rats, who were fed one human equivalent apple a day. Nearly 81 percent of the rats, which were not given apples, suffered rapid tumor growth.

Another interesting aspect highlighted was that the tumor growth was significantly stunted in rats that were fed more apples. In addition, rats that were fed around six apples a day, only 23 percent developed tumors.

The research underlines the importance of phytochemicals, known as phenolics or flavonoid that are present in apples, fruits and vegetables.

Lui stated, "These studies add to the growing evidence that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, including apples, would provide consumers with more phenolics, which are proving to have important health benefits. I would encourage consumers to eat more and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily."

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer with nearly 125 women diagnosed daily. Almost 12,000 women fall prey to this ailment annually in United Kingdom. And about one million are diagnosed globally each year.

The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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