Forget the doctor; here's a revamped version of the old health adage that today's scientists are themselves proclaiming "An apple a day (along with other fruits and vegetables) keeps breast cancer away"!
Rui Hai Liu, Cornell associate professor of food science and a member of Cornell's Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, has found that fresh apple extracts significantly inhibited the size of mammary tumours in rats.
The researcher said that the more extracts the subjects were given, the greater the inhibition.
"We not only observed that the treated animals had fewer tumours, but the tumours were smaller, less malignant and grew more slowly compared with the tumours in the untreated rats," said Liu, pointing out that the study confirmed the findings of his preliminary study in rats published in 2007.
Revealing his findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researcher revealed that Liu said that he found that a type of adenocarcinoma - a highly malignant tumour and the main cause of death of breast-cancer patients, as well as of animals with mammary cancer - was evident in 81 percent of tumours in the control animals.
However, it developed in only 57 percent, 50 percent and 23 percent of the rats fed low, middle and high doses of apple extracts, respectively, during the 24-week study.
Liu revealed that the doses of apple extracts fed to the rats during the study were equivalent to one, three and six apples a day in humans.
"That reflects potent anti-proliferative (rapid decrease) activity," said Liu.
The researcher further said that his research highlight the important role of phytochemicals, known as phenolics or flavonoids, found in apples and other fruits and vegetables.
"These studies add to the growing evidence that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, including apples, would provide consumers with more phenolics, which are proving to have important health benefits. I would encourage consumers to eat more and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily," Liu said.