Almost everyone is advised to eat an apple daily to stay healthy. What many don’t know is the other side of the coin. With benefits ranging from improved brain health to the prevention of dementia and breast cancer, the juicy fruit has some bitter seeds to it. For a long time debate have been focussing on the impact of Apple seeds on human health. It’s time for us to look at both the pros. And cons. of the apple seeds.
What they comprise of?
Amygdalin, a plant compound, is found in the Apple seeds. To the seed, this compound is a friend, as it is a part of its chemical defense mechanism until the seed is intact. Amygdalin is the same ingredient that is extracted from the pits of apricot to make laetrile, touted to be an anti-cancer medicine. The seeds also contain various unsaturated fatty acids among other things.
The apple seeds carry a hard outer covering to put up a strong resistance against any external touches. Once the seed is broken or damaged or is digested, the Amygdalin present in it takes the form of hydrogen cyanide- a deadly chemical capable of destroying lives- which turns Poisonous on coming into contact with digestive enzymes, i.e., it has to be chewed or crushed by you.
To what extent Cyanide is dangerous?
At first, Cyanide has been historically used as a chemical weapon in wars as prominent as the World War II. There need not be any other example to prove its efficacy as a poison. This deadliest chemical can be fatal when the seeds it is present in, including the seeds of pears and cherry, are crushed in an excessive quantity. Your body’s immune system can prevent any damage up to a certain extent, but after that, it is all over within minutes.
Now there are two cases, one in which the seeds are swallowed without being chewed. In this case, there won’t be any harm caused as the seeds will go through the digestive system unbroken. The second case is when the seeds are chewed and made to grind through the digestive system. In this case, there are certain possibilities.
Different varieties of apple may contain an unusual amount of Amygdalin. To be precise, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention(CDS) has, in a report, stated that 1 to 2 mg/kg is a fatal dose of cyanide for a person with a weight of 70 kg. However, a gram of apple seeds, crushed firmly, may contain cyanide up to 0.06 to 0.24 mg. A typical Apple holds somewhere between 4-8 seeds. So a person would need to have a marathon run while eating apples to fulfill the criteria of poisoning by the Apple seeds.
Approximately 200 or more seeds are required to be chewed effortlessly by an average adult to be poisoned by Cyanide.
While the risk of getting caught by Cyanide is not that much, another study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registered has stated that even smaller amounts of cyanide can cause deadly blows to the body. A lower amount of Cyanide intake has the potential to cause nausea, headache, cramps in the stomach, vomiting, weakness, dizziness, and confusion. All these can act as symptoms and should ring alarm bells that something is not right with your apple eating habits.
To make it more transparent, when apple seeds are consumed in large quantities the cyanide present in them deters your body’s ability to carry and transport oxygen in RBCs, leading to death due to lack of oxygen.
For kids, there is a need to keep an eye when served with apples, and it is better to cut the apple into pieces before serving to be sure of any mishaps.
The bottom line is that Apples are healthy enough to keep you healthy. Eat them and keep believing in the famous saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Anyways why would a sane man in a normal situation eat apple seeds when there is an entire apple to be eaten?
On the other hand, the apple seeds benefits are not verified by any study or research.