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Apple a Day Gets Rid of Doctor and More

Sept. 13, 2002 -- An apple a day may keep more than the doctor away. In fact, it may keep a whole host of diseases away, too -- from heart disease and asthma to cancer.

People eating foods rich in a variety of flavonoids -- plant products that act like antioxidants -- were less likely to have heart disease, stroke, and asthma. Type 2 diabetes also appeared to be less common in this group. Plus, men that ate flavonoids had less lung and prostate cancers, says lead researcher Paul Knekt, PhD, of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland.

Flavonoids come from a variety of foods. In this study, the flavonoids that the researchers were studying are most abundant in oranges, apples, grapefruit, onions, white cabbage, berries, and juices. Flavonoids are also found in tea and wine, but the researchers didn't study these two items.

Flavonoids are effective in stopping oxidation -- the process in which cell-damaging substances called free radicals accumulate. Apples and onions were found to have the highest concentration of flavonoids.

The study, in the September 2002 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined more than 10,000 men and women. After completing an initial questionnaire, the participants were followed for 28 years.


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