Do You Know Nutrition: An apple a day keeps the doctor away, really

June 21, 2010 at 1:21 a.m.
Updated June 22, 2010 at 1:22 a.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

By Phylis B. Canion

Q: I am from the new generation, but I hear the older generation say this: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Can you please tell why it is so healthy for someone to eat an apple daily? Do you have a favorite?

A: The old proverb, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is now backed by science. Research by Cornell University, the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and the National Cancer Institute suggests that because of the nutrient content of vitamin C, phytochemicals, flavanoids, antioxidiants and pectin, apples may reduce the risk of cancer by preventing DNA damage.

Of all of the nutrient benefits of apples, I recommend them because of the pectin content. Pectin binds with toxins and heavy metals to remove them from the body. Other fruits that contain pectin are blackberries, gooseberries, crab apples, cranberries, grapes, medlars, plums and quince. Any citrus fruit peel is also high in pectin.

Fruits that are low in pectin are apricots, blueberries, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, rhubarb and strawberries.

Eating a whole apple is more nutritious than drinking an equal portion of apple juice because the fiber, vitamins and minerals may be processed out of the juices.

In addition to their nutrient value, apples are an excellent source of dietary fiber with one medium-size apple containing approximately 13 percent of the recommended daily value.

My favorite apple, hands down, is the Fuji. I was introduced to the Fuji while living in Asia. The Fuji apple has exceptional firmness and juice and has a comparatively greater shelf life without refrigeration than other apples and can last up to five months without losing all of its nutrient value in the refrigerator. It originated in Japan in the 1930s and was introduced into the United States in the late 1980s.

Q: Is there a natural remedy for bee stings?

A: I never go anywhere in the summer months without an onion. A slice of onion on a yellow jacket, wasp or bee sting, ant bite or scorpion bite works fantastic. Immediately the milky juice of the onion helps extract the poisons and reduce the swelling.

And I bet you are wondering - white or yellow onion? Yellow onions are a bit stronger than the sweeter white onion, so pack a yellow one with you.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, e-mail her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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