Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

An Apple a Day May Cut Breast Cancer Risk

Best to Get Antioxidants From Food, Not Supplements, Researchers Find
WebMD Health News

March 2, 2005 -- Eating an apple a day may help guard against breast cancerguard against breast cancer, say Cornell University researchers.

If you're going to act on the finding -- which comes from lab tests on rats -- grab an apple instead of reaching for vitamins and supplements from bottles, suggest the researchers.

Studies have consistently shown that diets high in fruits and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases.

The credit probably goes to disease-fighting antioxidants from plants known as phytochemicalsphytochemicals, they write. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plant foods are packed with antioxidants. The chemicals have been widely studied for their benefits against heart disease, cancer, and preventing diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetes, say the researchers.

Whole Foods Trump Supplements

Antioxidants are good for you, but does it matter if it comes from a pill or from produce?

Yes, say the researchers. Antioxidants in foods work together and their combined effect is greatest, they explain.

"No single antioxidant can replace the combination of natural phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables in achieving ultimate health benefits," write the researchers. "The pure compounds either lose their bioactivities in isolation or may not behave the same way as the compound in complex whole foods.

"Our findings suggest that consumers may gain more significant health benefits from including whole foods in their balanced diet than from more expensive dietary supplements, which do not contain the same array of balanced, complex components."

Testing the Theory

The researchers gave rats a chemical to induce breast cancer. The scientists also brewed extracts made from Red Delicious apples, which are commonly found in grocery stores across America.

The researchers tested three doses of the extract. For humans, the doses equaled eating one, three, or six apples per day.

After 24 weeks, breast tumor rates were 17% lower in the rats receiving the low dose of the apple extract, 39% lower with the medium dose, and 44% lower with the high dose.

The number of tumors also dropped 25% with the low dose, 25% with the medium dose, and 61% with the high dose.

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow