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Nutrition

Prescription for Good Health!CORNELL ANTI-CANCER FINDINGS

It's true, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away--and the cancer--according to new research released last year.

Cornell University food scientists have discovered that substances called phytochemicals, found primarily in the skin of New York apples, provide huge anti-oxidant and anti-cancer benefits.

The laboratory study, funded by the New York Apple Association and the New York Apple Research Development Program, was published in the June 22, 2001 issue of the journal Nature.

The Cornell researchers found that eating 100 grams of a fresh New York apple with skins provided the total anti-oxidant and anti-cancer activity equal to 1,500 milligrams of vitamin C.

"Eating fruits and vegetables is better than taking a vitamin pill," said Rui Hai Liu, Cornell assistant professor of food science and lead author on the Nature article.

Industry leaders expect the phytochemical findings to provide the same sales boost to New York apples that blueberries and broccoli received following similar anti-cancer/anti-oxidant findings for those foods last year.

"This is the kind of jump-start our industry needs and we'll be concentrating a large part of our future marketing strategy on these findings,' said New York Apple Association President James Allen. Allen is working with the Association's advertising and public relations firms to come up with a new marketing campaign based on the anti-cancer findings. "This is probably the best marketing tool for New York apples to come down the pike in recent memory," Allen said. "This kind of news can really help to completely turn this industry around."

The research was well publicized. News of the study was picked up by the Associated Press, Reuters, ABC, CBS, CNN, the BBC, and FOX News. It was seen as far away as London, Brazil and Australia and broadcast extensively in the U.S., appearing in 35 of the top 50 domestic TV markets.

Although it has long been known that apples provide anti-oxidant and health benefits, "this concept is different,", says Liu. "It demonstrates the anti-oxidant activity of fresh apples," since the phytochemicals are found in higher concentrations in the skin.

An anti-oxidant is one of many chemicals that reduce or prevent oxidation, thus preventing cell and tissue damage in the body.

"In this research, we have shown the importance of phytochemicals to human health," says Liu's collaborator, Chang Yong Lee, Cornell professor of food science at the university's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

"Some of the phytochemicals are known to be anti-allergenic, some are anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-proliferative. Now I have a reason to say an apple a day keeps the doctor away."

For more information visit the American Cancer Society's website.

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