Medieval apples are healthier – reveals new research


Organically grown apples from the 12th Century have higher levels of health- giving plant compounds than modern non organically grown rivals, such as Granny Smith, Royal Gala and Cox. From peel to core, the medieval apple outperformed 14 other competitors.

Pharmacist Michael Wakeman will announce the findings of his research at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Annual Conference in Manchester. He has been researching the health giving properties of apples for a decade at secret orchards around the country, where horticulturists have been bringing back to life 300 varieties of ancient English apple.

The findings of the study directly counter the claims of the Food Standard Agency who claim that organic food is no healthier than standard food. In fact, of all the organic varieties, the medieval Pendragon was the best apple variety and contained 7 of the 8 kinds of healthy components at the highest levels. In contrast, the non-organic apples consistently had low levels and less major healthy components in both the flesh and the peel.

Runners up to Pendragon were an organically grown variety of Golden Delicious, a cider apple called Collogett Pippin, and old Cornish and Devon apple varieties, Ben’s Red and Devonshire Quarrenden.

Michael Wakeman who conducted the research discusses his findings in this video

Cider is good for health, say scientists

Glasgow: A glass of cider a day is good for health, new research from the University of Glasgow suggests.

Scientists have found that the drink, made from apples, and which is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity, following a huge advertising campaign by one producer, is bursting with health-boosting antioxidants.

In many cases, levels are as high as those found in red wine, which is recognised for its ability to stave off a range of diseases.

Both drinks are rich in phenolics, a type of antioxidant credited with the ability to ward off cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Researcher Dr Serena Marks said: ‘Unit for unit, the cider with the most phenolics had levels comparable to red wine.’

The variety of apple, how its grown, in what soil and the storage all affect the levels and concentrations of antioxidants such as phenolics.

The Glasgow University scientist said that drinking a glass of cider was not only enjoyable but was a good way to increase phenolics in the diet.

A spokesman for the National Association of Cider Makers, which part-funded the study, said: ‘An apple a day is said to keep the doctor away. But a glass of cider could be an even more pleasurable way to take care of yourself-The finding comes as cider becomes increasingly popular. It overtook bitter for the first time last year, with £453million in offlicence and supermarket sales.

Its resurgence has been partly attributed to the ‘Magners effect’, a £20million advertising campaign encouraging consumers to drink the Irish-brewed bottled cider over ice.

It was so successful at appealing to younger drinkers that its manufacturer, Tipperary-based Bulmers, had to import apples from England to keep up production levels. With the popularity of British brands also soaring, many orchards are being replanted for the first time in decades.

Cloudy apple juice is better for health

Wroclaw: Apple juice that contains the pulp is far better than the clear variety, says a new report from Poland.

Scientists at the Agriculture University of Wroclaw have found that cloudy juice – which also tastes better – has four times the amount of beneficial nutrients to fight cancer and heart disease.

Apples, like other fruits, contain polyphenols – antioxidants that help protect the cells of the body and lower the risk of disease and protect the immune system.

Cloudy juice contains the pulp and therefore a higher amount of the good substances in the fruit. Clear juice removes the beneficial-antioxidants called procyanidins. It is thought that an enzyme used to treat pressed apples to make the juice clear and removal of the pulp take away all the goodness.

In a report in the Science of Food and Agriculture, the scientists conclude: ‘Cloudy and clear apple juices differed markedly in their content of procyanidins, which is reflected in their anti-oxidant capacity.’

Although the study only looked at apples, it is likely that the same applies to other fruits where the juice is refined.

There is mounting evidence that fruits and vegetables offer first-line of defence protection against illness and disease. Last year a study found that drinking fruit and vegetable juices more than three times a week can dramatically cut the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Canadian researchers also recently recommended that drinking a glass of cranberry juice a day as a method of heart attack prevention as it raises levels of ‘good cholesterol’ in the blood by 8 per cent.

An apple a day keeps dementia at bay

New York: Apples may be effective in preventing ageing of the brain. According to the latest reseach, the juice contains a chemical that boosts an essential neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals released by nerve cells to transmit messages to other nerve cells and are critical for good memory and brain health.

Scientists have previously shown that increasing the amount of acetylcholine in the brain can slow the mental decline found in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researcher Thomas Shea PhD, director of the Center for Cellular Neurobiology and Neurodegenration Research at the University of Massachusetts Lowell says: “The findings of the present study show that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods such as apples and apple juice can help reduce problems associated with memory loss.”

Nutritionists already advocate eating a diet high in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, spinach, and strawberries and omega 3 oil to slow age-related mental decline better than using dietary supplements containing purified forms of antioxidants.

In the latest study, researchers looked at the effects on mice. They compared normal adult mice, normal “aged” mice, and special mice that were a genetic model for human Alzheimer’s. Human studies looking at apple consumption are planned.

The study was funded by an unrestricted grant from the US Apple Association and the Apple Products Research & Education Council.

The mice were given either a normal diet, or a diet lacking in essential nutrients, for one month. Some of the mice on the nutrient-poor diet were also given apple juice concentrate mixed in their water.

The results showed that normal adult mice and the genetically-engineered mice on normal diets had the same acetylcholine levels.

In fact, the normal adults had the same acetylcholine levels regardless of diet.

However, the genetically engineered mice on the nutrient-poor diet had lower acetylcholine levels. But this drop was prevented in those given apple juice.

In the aged mice on a normal diet, acetylcholine levels were lower than in the normal adult mice; and their levels were even lower if placed on the nutrient-poor diet. But, again, this decline was prevented by the addition of apple juice to drink.

The mice were also put through maze memory tests. “It was surprising how the animals on the apple-enhanced diets actually did a superior job on the maze tests than those not on the supplemented diet,” says Shea.

The amount of apple juice the mice drank was comparable to drinking about two 8-ounce glasses of apple juice or eating two to three apples a day for humans.