Apples could hold key for increasing lifespan

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: apples, lifespan, health news

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(NaturalNews) Sure, apples are delicious and healthy. And, as NaturalNews has previously reported, there is a growing body of evidence showing apples fight cancer. In fact, half a dozen studies published by Rui Hai Liu, Cornell associate professor of food science and a member of Cornell's Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, have found eating apples is an especially powerful way to prevent breast cancer(

Now there's breaking research news that shows consuming apples regularly may contribute to a longer lifespan, too. The study was just published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

A team of scientists headed by Zhen-Yu Chen, PhD, of the Food and Nutritional Sciences Program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have reported the first evidence that healthful antioxidant substances in apples extend the average lifespan of test animals by 10 percent. The new study involved fruit flies and backs up earlier findings involving the testing of apple antioxidants on other animals.

Dr. Zhen-Yu Chen and colleagues believe specific antioxidants in apples known as polyphenols are particularly powerful in combating the damaging substances known as free radicals that have been linked to many serious diseases as well as the aging process. In a statement to the media, Dr. Chen noted that the results of his team's new research support those from other studies, including one in which women who often ate apples were found to have a whopping 13 to 22 percent decrease in the risk of heart disease.

The scientists found that apple polyphenols not only greatly extended the average lifespan of fruit flies but also preserved the ability of the oldest insects to walk, climb and move about. Moreover, the apple polyphenols actually reversed the levels of a host of biochemical substances found in older fruit flies that are known to be markers for age-related deterioration and approaching death.

More good news about apples and other fruit: a new study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers concludes men and women who regularly eat berries have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease. And men can lower their risk of Parkinson's even more by regularly eating apples as well as oranges and other fruits rich in phytochemicals known as flavonoids. The study is slated to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting which will be held in Honolulu from April 9 to April 16, 2011.

"This is the first study in humans to examine the association between flavonoids and risk of developing Parkinson's disease," said study author Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, in a statement to the media. "Our findings suggest that flavonoids, specifically a group called anthocyanins, may have neuroprotective effects. If confirmed, flavonoids may be a natural and healthy way to reduce your risk of developing Parkinson's disease."

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