Anxious to grab a morning walk before the temperatures rose to quickly, I snatched a crisp red organic apple out of my refrigerator drawer–a Gala to be precise. Apples are one of my favorite fruits–conveniently packaged in a portable size and sturdy enough to be carried almost anywhere. They have the advantage so far–of making it through airport security; my yogurt was not so lucky! As I munched through the house multitasking, my mind wandered just briefly about the iconic platitude “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
This is one fruit that we apparently love. Emerson called it “the American fruit.” Those who keep track of such things estimate that we consume about 120 apples per year–per person. And, did you know that the apple originated not far from the mythical Eden, in Almaty, Kazakhstan in Central Asia where wild apples still cover the foothills? Most of ours don’t come that far, and although they grow in almost all states, if you have ever driven through Yakima, Ellensburg or the Wenatchee Valley you would not need to be convinced that most apples in the United States come out of Washington state where 12 billion apples are thinned and picked by hand. That’s a lot of apples!
No one is better suited than Rebecca Wood, author of The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia to detail the medicinal benefits of apples. According to her expertise, apples are a cooling food–and both a yin & chi tonic that treat the heart, lungs, large intestines, stomach and spleen. They invigorate and promote vital energy and help dispel toxins. Apples contain something called Malic and tartaric acids which inhibit fermentation in the stomach making apples easier to assimilate than most other fruits.
They are moistening and so reduce thirst, reduce fever, and ease dry hot lungs. In addition, apples, especially green, help to cleanse the liver and gallbladder and help to soften gallstones. Rebecca recommends giving grated raw apples to children to reduce their fever. To ease a dry cough her recommendation is to steam apples with honey until they’re soft and eat–to eliminate phlegm from the lungs, prepare apples with agar.
Apples are a rich source of pectin and so can lower cholesterol, promote beneficial intestinal flora, and support normal colon function. They’re high in quercetin and other flavonoid antioxidants that help protect against heart disease, cancer and asthma. They are also an excellent low-calorie source of fiber and vitamin C–and other nutrients.
When we look back not too far in our own history, I ask: Did our love affair with this American fruit begin here with the myth and legend of John Chapman–a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed. An interesting character, he traveled the vast unsettled territories of our new country with his bag of seeds planting trees: a unspoken message– perhaps one that we should heed more closely today? Is there a synergy between man and the apple or apple and man? You know kind of like the squirrel and the acorn? Once thing is sure our love affair with the apple is far from over and it seems with out a doubt is good for our system of creating health within. For me it can certainly be taken out of “bible lore” and brought into the our daily ritual–for snacks, salads, dried, cooked, –juiced or cider. Whether we call them Braeburn or golden, Granny Smith or McIntosh the message is clear–an apple a day really should keep the doctor away.
“Inspired Wellness from Within”
Cathy Silver, HC