“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a common phrase used to describe the benefits of eating apples. However, a recent study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, suggests that apple peels are no different. According to the researchers, apple peels and green tomatoes help prevent muscle aging and decay in elderly.

The researchers from the University of Iowa said that if taken regularly for over a period of two months, the elderly population can actually witness the difference made by the consumption of apple peel and green tomatoes. The difference is brought about by a chemical ingredient present in the apple peel and green tomatoes.

Muscle wastage in the elderly is caused by gene alteration made by a protein called ATF4. According to the researchers, ursolic acid and tomatidine found in apple peel and green tomatoes respectively, significantly cut down the activity of ATF4 protein. This, in turn, reduces the muscle decay and aging, thus benefitting the elderly population.

The research team conducted their study on a group of mice wherein they studied the effect of ursolic acid and tomatidine on muscles. The team found that the two chemicals significantly reduced age-related muscle weakness in mice. In addition, at the end of two months, the muscle mass increased by 10 percent, while the quality of muscles increased by 30 percent.

The researchers are hopeful that the study findings will help determine the exact factors that result in aging humans. In addition, the researchers are interested to see how the two chemicals -- ursolic acid and tomatidine – can be used to reduce the effects of aging.