The Loh Down On Science

Why wormy apples are good for us

Does an apple a day keep the . . . grim reaper away?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Yeah, yeah, apples are healthy treats.  But exactly how good are they for you?  Unknown! 

Only specific chemicals isolated from the fruit had been put through the scientific wringer.  Until now.

Enter Elena Vayndorf from Cornell University.  She craved data on what an apple’s full chemical slurry brings to the table.  So she prepared apple extracts containing all of the fruit’s compounds.  She then gave study subjects daily doses of the cocktail. 

She monitored their health over time.  And?  Those given the biggest cocktail lived forty percent longer, on average.  That’s four times the effect of any given apple component tested in isolation.  Subjects also got sick less.  And handled stress better.  In a nutshell?  Apples do the body even more good than was thought.

There is one wrinkle . . .  Her subjects were roundworms, not people.  They age similarly to humans, but have a much shorter lifespan.   Thus, they provided generations of data within Vayndorf's own lifetime.

But that's good enough for me.  Appletinis, anyone?

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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