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Research Shows Phytonutrient and Fiber May Reduce Risk

Contact: Denise Yockey
(517) 336-4680

Apples Reduce Risk of Digestive Cancer

Lansing, Mich. – New research has linked nutrients in apples with a reduced risk of digestive cancer, according to the Michigan Apple Committee (MAC).

MAC cited a newly-published scientific review that reported eating more fiber- and phytonutrient-rich fruits and vegetables – including flavonoids found most abundantly in apples – may significantly reduce the risk of developing digestive cancers. Such cancers are one of the world's most common causes of cancer-related illness and death.

Professor Ian Johnson of the United Kingdom's Institute for Food Research reviewed published scientific literature regarding digestive cancers, and concluded that better diet – and especially diets rich in micronutrients, fiber and plant-based phytonutrients including flavonoids – can play a significant role in reducing the human toll caused by these cancers. His analysis was published in mid-summer in the peer-reviewed journal Mutation Research. (Source: Johnson, I.T. Mutation Research: Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis 2004; vol. 551, issues 1-2, pp. 9-28. The paper can be accessed online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/jounal/00275107.)

Digestive cancers, such as cancers of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum, are among the top causes of cancer-related illness and death around the world. In Michigan, approximately two million people die each year from colorectal cancer. Such cancers don't develop from exposure to carcinogens as with tobacco-related cancers, but rather primarily from cell damage that could be countered with a proper diet.

Johnson reported that evidence from the majority of epidemiological studies indicates that high fruit and vegetable consumption protects against many cancers, and especially digestive cancers. His review identified micronutrients, fiber and phytonutrients such as flavonoids as most protective against digestive cancers.

Apples are one of the richest fruit sources of dietary fiber, and are one of the leading sources of phytonutrients among all plant foods. One medium, tennis ball-sized apple contains five grams of fiber, 20 percent of the recommended daily value of 25-35 grams per day.

The nutrients in apples have also been found to boost brain health, reduce heart disease risk, and lower risk of other types of cancer. Researchers continue to learn how beneficial apples are to our daily diet. For more health information on apples, visit www.MichiganApples.com.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit www.MichiganApples.com.