A total of six studies conducted during the past year have shown evidence of the beneficial impact of apple consumption on risk of breast cancer.
They were all reported by Cornell researcher Dr. Rui Hai Liu in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In one of them, he looked at the development of mammary tumors in rats.
He found that 81 percent of the animals in the control group developed it but only 57 percent, 50 percent and 23 percent of the rats fed low, medium and high doses of apple extracts became ill during a period of 24 weeks.
"We not only observed that the treated animals had fewer tumors, but the tumors were smaller, less malignant and grew more slowly," said Dr. Liu who is an associate professor of food science and a member of Cornell’s Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology.
The ingredients responsible for the anti-cancer and anti-proliferative effect are phytochemicals known as flavonoids whose rich sources include apples and many other fruits and vegetables.
In a separate experiment, Dr. Liu also found that apple peel contains a variety of other phenolic compounds that have potent antioxidant effects.
According to the American Cancer Society, 184,450 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,930 will die from the disease. However, if detected early and treated properly, breast cancer is one of the most curable of all cancers affecting women.