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take two, on apple seeds

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: Don’t apple seeds have cyanide or arsenic in them? (This was in response to yesterday’s post.)

Answer: I don’t think Snopes is the final answer on everything, but I like how they research topics. Here they are on apple seeds:

http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/apples.asp

If this troubles you, by all means take that extra step of cutting the seeds out. But let me say this: you can get yourself really worked up about all the “harmful” compounds in natural plant foods we eat every day. I’ve blogged here plenty–and written in my books–about phthalates, oxalates, and other controversial compounds found in grains, greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruits. If you isolated them from the VAST array of natural compounds that work together synergistically for good health, they could hurt you. (I doubt science will EVER fully understand WHY these foods are so disease-preventing because hundreds of things interplay in a simple apple.) Or if, by virtue of our sad (S.A.D.) modern lifestyle, you have developed a fairly rare condition exacerbated by compounds in natural foods, you could possibly have a reaction.

I come from several generations of people eating apple seeds (on my dad’s side, not my mom’s where you may have read the cancer lies). My dad grew up sprayed toxic chemicals WITHOUT A MASK in our family’s apple orchards in Santaquin, Utah. That includes now-banned-in-the-U.S. Malathion, which he once accidentally got sprayed full in the face by his brother. The only reason I can think of why he doesn’t have cancer is his healthy eating habits and a lifetime at a healthy weight, and self-disciplined exercise (move those toxins out of the bloodstream!).

But again, while I constantly encourage a non-paranoid, healthy, calm approach to eating plant foods that we KNOW empirically are good for us, you should cut the cores out of apples before putting them in your blender, if you feel uncomfortable with that.

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