Apples Facts, Myths & Legends


Health Benefits of Apples

         Easy on the digestion, apples contain malic and tartaric acids that inhibit fermentation in the intestines. Their high fiber content adds bulk that aids the digestive process, making elimination natural and comfortable. Apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.

         Apples contain flavonoids, antioxidants that improve immune function and prevent heart disease and some cancers.

         Green apples act as a liver and gall bladder cleanser and may aid in softening gallstones.

         Because of their high water content, apples are cooling and moistening and aid in reducing fever. Simply grate them and serve them to feverish patients. Steamed apples sweetened with honey are beneficial for a dry cough and may help to remove mucous from the lungs.

         Hippocrates (circa 400 BCE), the Greek physician considered the father of medicine, was a proponent of nutritional healing. His favorite remedies were apples, dates, and barley mush.

         Today medical practitioners are beginning to recognize that the apple's abundant quantity of pectin is an aid in reducing high cholesterol as well as blood sugar, a wonder food for people with coronary artery disease and diabetes.

         If these aren't enough reasons to "eat an apple a day," there's more. Eating raw apples gives the gums a healthy massage and cleans the teeth. This popular fruit is said to have properties that are a muscle tonic, diuretic, laxative, antidiarrheal, antirheumatic, and stomachic.

Nutritional Benefits of Apples

         Unpeeled apples provide their most plentiful nutrients just under the skin. Apples are a good source of potassium, folic acid, and vitamin C.

         A medium apple, approximately 5 ounces, has only 81 calories and a whopping 3.7 grams of fiber from pectin, a soluble fiber. A medium apple supplies 159 mg of potassium, 3.9 mcg of folic acid, 7.9 mg of vitamin C, and 9.6 mg of calcium.

         Additionally, there are trace amounts of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and zinc

         Apples keep best and longest when refrigerated. Unrefrigerated, apples can become mushy in just two or three days. Purchase them at farmers' markets where you know they have probably been picked the day before or at supermarkets where they are kept cool. Apples should be firm and blemish-free.

Myths, Legends & Folklore

Myths, legends and folklore involving apples abound in history and literature. Beginning with Adam and Eve or the anthropological data on Stone Age man in Europe, the apple was there. Greek and Roman mythology refer to apples as symbols of love and beauty. When the Romans conquered England about the first century B.C., they brought apple cultivation with them.  In the 13th century BCE, Ramses II ordered cultivated varieties of apples planted in the Nile delta. In Attica, Greece, apples were being grown in a very limited quantity during the 7th century BCE. Since they were so expensive, it was decreed that a bridal couple would have to share one apple on their wedding night.

Pliny the Elder, a Roman statesman, circa 23 CE, described 37 different varieties of cultivated apples in his Historia naturalis. By the first century CE apples were being cultivated in every region throughout the Rhine Valley. Apple cultivation was gathering momentum. By the year 1640, horticulturist Parkinson noted 60 varieties, by 1669 the count was up to 92 varieties, and by 1866 Downing's Fruits notes 643 different cultivars.

More Myths, Legends, and Folklore



The History of William Tell (From the William Tell museum in the Swiss town of his birth.)

The Story of Johnny Appleseed  (From the National Apple Week Association, Inc.)

Snow White Legend - (an in-depth, fascinating essay on the apple in literature not for children)