This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Those who peel apples before eating them may be missing an important health benefit — aid in prevention of high blood pressure. Canadian researchers have discovered that eating an unpeeled apple a day can help keep blood pressure levels low, as the peel contains high levels of antioxidants and compounds called flavonoids that are valuable in fighting this condition. In fact, the flavonoid levels in apple peels are so high that they surpass those of other superfoods like green tea and blueberries.
The benefit of this fruit centers around an enzyme called ACE, which is the most common cause of high blood pressure. In a study published in Food Chemistry, researchers tested the peel and the fleshy part of apples separately on samples of ACE, and the peel was found to inhibit the enzyme six times more effectively than the flesh. Furthermore, the inhibitory effect was dose dependent, meaning the higher the dose, the greater the ACE inhibition.
While the study suggests all varieties of fruit contain flavonoids, few can rival the quantity and effectiveness of those in apple peel. Since the findings indicate apple peel extract may be an effective ACE inhibitor, animal and clinical studies are warranted, noted study authors Nileeka Balsuriya and Vasantha Rupasinghe.
A staggering one billion people globally suffer from high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Due to the magnitude of the problem and its relation to CVD, scientists are testing the potential of many foods to inhibit ACE. They have found dairy peptides, cocoa extract and green tea extract have a certain amount of blood pressure lowering effects.
The latest study is by no means the first time apple peel has been studied and found to have beneficial health effects. In June of 2012, a study in PLoS ONE found an ingredient in apple peel can help fight obesity, and in August a study published in Cell Metabolism discovered that it may help prevent muscle wasting.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is much more than an adage. It’s an advisory from the scientific community with a growing number of studies supporting it.