The Many Benefits of Apples
Told you so! For most of my career as a homeopath I have been recommending my clients eat at least one apple each day. Now smarter people than myself are doing likewise, albeit for different reasons.
I recommend apples mainly to people who suffer with heartburn. But apples contain acid, you might say. Yes, but I learnt from the “Hay diet” in the book Food Combining many years ago that apples, being acidic, actually relieve heartburn. (Apples contain the following acids, though only malic acid in appreciable quantities: malic, quinic, aketoglutaric, oxalacetic, citric, pyruvic, fumaric, lactic and succinic acids)¹. After all, as Dr Hahnemann showed us, like cures like.
I explained this to a pharmacist who had retired but doing some locums. Despite being at the end of a long career, she exclaimed, “I was wondering about that the other day. I looked at a can of Andrew’s liver salts (for heartburn and indigestion) to find it contains citric acid.” I told her that much of medicine worked on this principle of like curing like.
If someone suffering from heartburn were to take an alkali like the many over-the-counter remedies such as those containing carbonates of calcium and magnesium, they would soon have to repeat the dose. The mechanism here is that the body now has to produce more acid to neutralise the alkali in the remedy. On the other hand, take an acid like an apple, have a quick burp followed by long-lasting relief.
Apples are also a great source of fibre so great for a sluggish bowel. There is one caveat here though. From anecdotal accounts and empirical research, people with gallstones cannot digest apples for some reason even though they can digest acidic fruits of the citrus family like oranges. (Apples do not belong to the citrus family but to the Rosaceae family and the genus Malus).The corollary, therefore, must be that apples can be a way of diagnosing – or pointing to – a gallbladder problem. The citrus family obviously so not have the same affinity for the gall bladder nor the beneficial effects on heartburn, being a bit to harsh for some reason.
When I say other experts have now agreed with me, I mean they have found other benefits to the humble apple. The unique chemical composition of polyphenols, flavonoids and antioxidant vitamins in peel, pulp and core is, says Dr Adam Briggs in the British Medical Journal², as effective as the cholesterol-lowering statins in preventing or delaying circulatory disorders – without their risk of side-effects. This is quite a claim but there’s more. A huge study involving nearly 200,000 people has found that those eating at least three servings of apples a week are less likely to develop diabetes and asthma. Further, Dr Marian Eberhardt of Cornell University reports in Nature (possibly in 2000) that fresh apple extracts “inhibit the growth of colon and liver cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner”, according to Dr LeFanu, in today’s Daily Telegraph.
1. On the natural acids of fruit and veg see this link
2. See Sara Knapton’s report Apple-a-day as effective as statins
On the taxonomy of Apples and facts click the bioweb site here
Why apples are good to eat: the best diet
January, 2016: Swap statins for a daily apple to improve heart health, say health experts…
In a debate in the BMC Medicine Journal, consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra and Professor Simon Capewell of Liverpool University argue that the cholesterol-busting drugs bring debilitating side effects while having little impact on health for most people.
They claim that industry sponsored studies do not back up real-world data which shows up to half patients give up taking statins within a year and 62 per cent of those say it was because of muscle pain and fatigue…
Professor Capwell argues that Nice guidelines condemn middle-aged adults to lifelong medications of questionable value and “Pfizers own patient information leaflet of atorvastatin states that the common side effects of the drug include pain in the throat, nauseam indigestion, join and muscle pain and increases in blood sugar levels,” he said.
Dr Malhotra, of Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey, said: “The published literature states an unequivocal mortality benefit for patients with established heart disease. However the same does not apply to primary prevention, especially in individuals of low risk.
“For those at low risk, eating an apple a day has an equivalent risk reduction for myocardial infarction as taking a statin. More than 80 per cent of cardiovascular disease is attributable to environmental factors, notably unhealthy diet and also smoking, alcohol and physical inactivity…
“The focus in primary prevention should the form be on foods and food groups that have a proven benefit in reducing hard endpoints and mortality.”
April 2016: It’s looking increasingly bad for statins and better and better for fruit! In a large study in China, it is now evident fruit is better than statins. Read Daily fresh fruit lowers heart death risk as much as statins
Dr Malhotra has also commented on sugar and heart disease: Sugar is harmful, not saturated fats says cardiologist
Apple tree: WikiCommons