Appleseeds

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I am sure you have heard the saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  Well, eating many apples in a day may keep the doctor away but may also bring the undertaker your way.

Before I explain this, I have a confession to make to you.  You see when I eat an apple I eat it all, the flesh or peel, seeds and stem, if it is attached.  Nothing goes to waste.

Filling and Functional

I have found apples to be very good for you and your health.  They are about 85% water by weight and a medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fiber. Apples are good for filling you up when you are on a diet.  They are packed with vitamin C, A and flavonoids.  They have a small amount of phosphorus, iron, vitamin K and calcium.  A Harvard study in 2015 showed that adults who eat an apple a day do appear to use fewer prescription medications.

Apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide. Eat the apple, but leave the seeds, even though it would take about 143 of them before they would be deadly.

Until recently I had no problem eating two or three apples a day.  Then in research, I found out that the seeds (also known as pits or kernels) of apples, apricots, cherries and plums, all have cyanide in them.  Yes, the poison cyanide.

The seeds of these delicious fruit contain a compound called amygdalin, a sugar and cyanide compound which breaks down in your digestive system to hydrogen cyanide, the poison.

Swallow Them Whole

Now there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that if you eat whole apple seeds, they pass through your digestive system relatively untouched.   No cyanide exposure. However if you do what I do and chew everything including the seeds, you will be exposed to the chemicals inside the seed, exposed to cyanide.

The problem is that cyanide is a deadly poison at a dose of about 1 milligram per kilogram of body weight.  On an average, an apple seed contains 0.49 mg of cyanide compound.  There are about 8 to 10 seeds in an apple.  If my math is correct there is an average of 3.9 to 4.9 mg of cyanide in each apple eaten.  Now the dose of toxins in an apple seed is still small enough that your body can easily detoxify it.  A person weighing 70 kilograms, or 154 pounds, would need to eat 143 seeds to reach the lethal dose or about 17 whole apples of 8 seeds each.

The Rich Payoff Outweighs the Risk

The conclusion I have come to is that apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber.  The antioxidants may aid in reducing the risk of developing cancer, gastritis, hypertension, asthma, diabetes and  heart disease.  So eat and enjoy those apple a day but leave the seeds alone.

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