Today I was reading about a study presented this week at the American Thoracic Society conference which has found an association between eating apples in pregnancy and relative protection from asthma in childhood. This research found that women eating four or more apples a week were about half as likely to have an asthmatic child compared to those eating one apple a week or less.
So-called ‘epidemiological’ studies of this nature cannot be used to prove that it is actually the eating of apples that causes the apparent protection of asthma. However, apples are known to contain plant substances (phytochemicals) that have previously been linked to improved lung health. Specifically, apples contain what are known of flavonoids, which appear to have diverse health benefits. The term ‘flavonoid’ covers many distinct substances, and some of these, including the chemical entity known as quercetin, has been linked with a reduced risk of asthma.
The potential health benefits of apple phytochemicals seem to extend beyond the lungs, and have been linked with a reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease too. An on-line review of the research in this area published in Nutrition Journal can be found by clicking [this link].