A new paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry provides the first evidence that consumption of an antioxidant in apples extends the average lifespan of test animals. The research was on fruit flies which are used as stand-ins for humans in research projects
Damaging substances generated in the body known as free radicals lead to changes believed to be involved in the aging process and some diseases. Antioxidants can combat this damage. Eating fruits and vegetables especially brightly colored foods like tomatoes, blueberries and apples provide antioxidants
The research found that apple antioxidants known as polyphenols not only prolonged the average lifespan of fruit flies but helped preserve their ability to walk, climb and move about. In addition, the polyphenols reversed the levels of various biochemical substances found in older fruit flies which are used as markers for age-related deterioration and approaching death.
The results support another study which found that women who often ate apples could have up to 22 percent decrease in the risk of heart disease.
Paper: Cheng Peng, Ho Yin Edwin Chan, Yu Huang, Hongjian Yu, Zhen-Yu Chen. Apple Polyphenols Extend the Mean Lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2011; : 110214164435048 DOI: 10.1021/jf1046267