Apple: Cool, Confident, and Take-Charge
The Fuji, the Granny Smith, the Macintosh, the Golden Delicious—there are more than twenty-five varieties of apples, and each has its own identity. But in general, apples are known for their take-charge personalities. They sharpen the mind, refresh the body, and strengthen resolve (just imagine the sort of determination Johnny Appleseed must have had to plant all those trees!). Apples revive confidence, cool down hot tempers, and generally encourage you to release tension and express feelings in order to regain emotional equilibrium.
They sharpen the mind, refresh the body, and strengthen resolve...
Therapeutic & Healing Powers:***
We’ve all heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Since the ancient civilization of Greece, apples have been regarded as the antidote to many ailments, including those of the liver, gall bladder, nervous system, and skin. As a doctor of Preventive & Integrative Medicine, I’ve found that the apple’s most potent therapeutic benefit is its cardio-protective effect. In other words, it guards the heart from disease! How exactly does it do that? Nutritionists credit this fantastic characteristic to the apple’s pectin content. Pectin, found in the skin of the apple, is a remarkable fiber that helps lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and increase good cholesterol (HDL). In this way, it prevents arterial plaque from accumulating and protects your overall cardio-vascular health.
Since pectin is a gel-forming fiber, it also increases the tone of the intestinal tract and promotes the elimination of toxic waste in the bowels and the bile. For this reason, apples are excellent for both the liver and for bowel regularity.
In addition, fresh, whole apples and apple juice are high in chlorogenic, caffeic, and ellagic acid—cancer-fighting phytonutrients that have been shown to prevent tumors from forming. Interestingly, these phytonutrients are eliminated in canning or cooking processes–all the more reason to eat fruit fresh, alive, and raw!
Finally, apples also have antiviral properties and help to prevent colds and upper respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and laryngitis.
I’d also like to note that I’ve found the Fuji apple to be a particularly powerful apple variety when it comes to overall therapeutic value.
Along with their power triad of phytonutrients and their fibrous pectin, apples are a good source of potassium, beta-carotene, and trace minerals.
Selection and Care:
Back in the early 1990s, farmers used to spray apples with Alar, a chemical which caused apples to ripen uniformly. However, the pesticide was also a neurotoxin, and after the media caught on to the story, the Department of Consumer Affairs pulled the treated produce off the market and prohibited the use of the chemical.
Today, conventionally grown apples test higher than a lot of other fruits in terms of levels of pesticides. With this in mind, it’s advisable to buy organic apples, free of commercial waxes and pesticides, whenever possible.
Fresh apples should be crisp, firm, and they should crunch when you bite them. Soft apples are not yet ripe, while spotted, brown, mushy ones are past their prime.
Optimal Use and Combining:
As we’ve discussed, it’s best to eat apples, fresh, whole, and raw to maximize the phytonutrient, antioxidant, and therapeutic value of the fruit.
Apples are an all-purpose fruit that enhance breakfast cereals, granola, nut butters (such as almond butter or peanut butter), and even desserts. They complement the flavors of pears, bananas, and papayas, but don’t mix quite as well with citrus or melon.
***This article is not intended to treat or diagnose any type of health condition or disease. Any nutritional considerations for any health complication should be discussed with your physician or healthcare provider.