Think back to when you were a child. Do you remember your mother telling you to never eat apple seeds? The thought process behind this time old saying is due to the belief that arsenic can be found in apple seeds. Was mom right all this time or was mom mislead? I love and cherish mom’s advice, then and even now, but sometimes she too may have got it wrong.
There is no detectable arsenic in apples. The potentially dangerous part of apple seeds is called amygdalin. It is a compound of cyanide and glucose (sugar). Cyanide is a deadly poison with no antidote. But it would take an enormous amount of apple seeds to produce any toxic effects, and even more than that to be deadly. You would need to eat at least 80 apple seeds in one day (8-10 apples) to experience any potentially negative effects.
There is speculation that the type of cyanide in apple seeds may actually fight cancer. According to some researchers, the destructive properties of cyanide are only activated when they come into contact with a particular enzyme that only exists in cancer cells.
They do not advocate eating excessive amounts of apple, apricot, or other seeds that contain this type of cyanide. But eating the seeds with a few apples a day may destroy cancer cells.
When it comes to toxic elements in food, whole foods are usually not the problem. It is when an isolate is made, when one element in a food is extracted and we take a large amount of something meant to only be a trace, that we encounter danger. Eating a whole apple, seeds and all, is not dangerous (except for the gnarly stem, that might not go down so well).
Even if you are concerned about the trace amount of cyanide in apple seeds, it is unlikely it would affect you if you accidently swallowed a seed. Apple seeds have a tough coating to protect them through animals’ digestive tracts.
They must be chewed or ground for the cyanide to be released. But to reiterate the very low level of danger, there are many people who have eaten a few apples’ worth of seeds every day for decades and reported no negative effects.
When it comes to juicing, it is highly unlikely you would get any of the seed, even if you juice a whole apple. Usually the seeds are expelled with the skin and other pulp. And as mentioned above, even if a seed made its way into your juice, it would not be enough to harm you.
Apples are a great way to sweeten up a bitter vegetable juice, but it is not advised to drink apple juice alone. Juicing concentrates the sugar in apples and takes out the beneficial fiber. Without this fiber, straight apple juice spikes blood sugar levels like any other sweet drink. But it can make a juice that is mostly vegetables more palatable.
There is no arsenic in apple seeds, and they contain only a trace amount of cyanide. This cyanide may be helpful in the fight against cancer. While cyanide is dangerous in large amounts, you would need to eat many, many apple seeds to experience any negative effects.
And the seeds are usually processed out of the juice with the rest of the pulp. Enjoy your apple juice, blended with less sweet vegetable juices, even if it came from the whole apples.