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Chemicals in apples could reduce the risk of breast cancer, Cornell study in rats suggests

ITHACA, N.Y. -- An apple a day can help keep breast cancer away, according to a study in rats by food scientists at Cornell University.

"We found that tumor incidence was reduced by 17, 39 and 44 percent in rats fed the human equivalent of one, three or six apples a day, respectively, over 24 weeks," says Rui Hai Liu, Cornell associate professor of food science and lead author of the study.

The Cornell researchers treated a group of rats with a known mammary carcinogen and then fed them either whole apple extracts or control extracts. Liu, who says this is the first study of the effects of apples on cancer prevention in animals, also found that the number of tumors was reduced by 25, 25 and 61 percent in rats fed, respectively, the equivalent of one, three or six apples a day.

The report is published online at http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/jafcau/asap/abs/jf058010c.html and will be published later this month in theJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry .

In an article in the journal Nature five years ago, Liu and his colleagues credited phytochemicals -- antioxidants -- in fresh apples with inhibiting human liver and colon cancer cell growth. Antioxidants help prevent cancer by mopping up cell-damaging free radicals and inhibiting the production of reactive substances that could damage normal cells.

"Studies increasingly provide evidence that it is the additive and synergistic effects of the phytochemicals present in fruits and vegetables that are responsible for their potent antioxidant and anticancer activities," Liu says.

"Our findings suggest that consumers may gain more significant health benefits by eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods than in consuming expensive dietary supplements, which do not contain the same array of balanced, complex components," says Liu.

He notes that the th
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Contact: Simeon Moss
sfm4@cornell.edu
607-255-2281
Cornell University News Service
1-Mar-2005


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