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An Apple a Day Tribune Article

An Apple a Day

Childhood is a time of wonder and discovery and as parents and grandparents we get to relive it through our children and grandchildren’s lives.  Oh, the pleasure we get to experience Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy for the first time again.  It’s fair to say that these half-truths play an important part in childhood by fostering the beliefs that listening to your parents, following the rules and good behavior will be rewarded.  One half-truth lingering around today suggests there’s no need for doctors in our lives if we simply reach for an apple.

I have some good news and bad news.  Remember the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?”  Well, Benjamin Franklin might have been stretching the truth a bit when he adopted the phrase from a centuries old English proverb, “An apple before going to bed keeps the doctor from earning his bread.”  Leave it to Franklin to make it memorable.   Regardless, the bad news is that studies show the theory is misguided.  One study in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal (published by the American Medical Association) found that people eating apples daily had just as many doctor visits as those who did not regularly eat them; however, the good news is that study found that daily apple eaters are less likely to use prescription medications.  I’m guessing there isn’t enough punch in coining the new phrase, “An apple a day keeps the pharmacist away.”

I simply wasn’t ready to remove my Pink Lady or Honeycrisp apples from their pedestals.  In my search for discovering the truth, I learned that there’s scientific evidence showing apples are still super heroes.

In the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, researchers found the regular consumption of fruit and vegetables was linked to a 21 percent reduction in lung cancer risk in women, with apples standing out as the most significant effect.  In a Finnish study, a sample population of 10,000 men and women clearly showed a strong relationship between higher intake of flavonoids and lower growth of lung cancer.  The primary source of flavonoids among research participants were apples.

Food scientists from Cornell University found similar effects in a study on the reduction of breast cancer.  Researchers treated a group of lab rats with a known mammary cancer-causing agent.  It was observed that after feeding the rodents apple extracts equivalent to human consumption of just one apple per day, the incidence of tumors decreased by 25 percent.  And don’t forget, eating the whole apple brings the most benefits.  Michael Greger, MD. says, “Research analyzing the positive effects of apple peels on prostate and breast cancer cells suggests that cancer cells are able to turn off one of the body’s natural defense mechanisms known as maspin, but the apple peel nutrients assist in turning the cancer-suppressing protein back on.”

I’ve never met a Honeycrisp apple I didn’t like.  Granted, most of them in grocery stores appear to be on steroids; nevertheless, you simply count it as more than one serving.  I bring apples on vacations and trips to see my grandchildren.  Franklin’s quote has a secure place in the Restivo family and will be passed on to generations to come.

Which brings me to another saying I must apologize to my daughter Kelli for.  Remember the saying that if you eat carrots you will get good eyesight?  Kelli, I’m sorry I told you as a child that if you ate carrots your hair would turn red just like Ariel’s in The Little Mermaid.  It was far more convincing than if I said you would gain good eyesight.  Of course, as years passed Kelli felt that theory was not grounded in truth but was simply a ploy to get her to eat her carrots.  Regardless, when Kelli’s outside in the sun her red highlights don’t go unnoticed.

How bout’ them apples???

Originally published in the Bay City Tribune on Sunday, May 28, 2017


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