“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is code phrase for “Eating fruits and veggies keeps you healthy”. So why isn’t the phrase “A lychee a day . . .” or “A kiwi a day . . .”? Well, as it happens, the answer is only partly related to the health benefits of apples. The other part has to do with classic real estate theory: location, location, location!
The apple tree originated around 6500 B.C. somewhere between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. Now there are 7500 varieties of apples grown in over 93 countries. In 2011, the total world apple production was 75,635,283 tonnes! In other words, almost every population around the world gets to enjoy apples.1
Are apples any more nutritious than the other seasonal fruits sold at the local markets? Like most fruits and vegetables, apples contain fibre, vitamins, anti-oxidants and water. They also contain isotone and isopropanol – ingredients found in nail polish and rubbing alcohol. And don’t forget the cyanide found in its seeds (which is why we core apples)! The point is that apples, like all fruits and vegetables, contain over 300 naturally occurring compounds with the highly beneficial ones far outweighing the ones just mentioned. The polyphenols (anti-oxidants) and the salicylic acid (precursor for Aspirin) found in apples, for example, can help reduce the risk of heart disease.2
So what makes apples so great? In North America, apple trees blossom late in the spring which minimizes frost damage. This generally ensures a good annual crop. The apple’s shelf life is far greater than other fruits if they are kept in a cold, dark storage place. (Apples ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated.) They are enjoyed by all ages equally as a drink, in a dish, or alone and are a part of every traditional diet. Apples remind us of fall and the joy of picking apples with family and friends. Find an orchard near you and keep that doctor away.
2 An Apple A Day, Joe Schwartz, PhD. HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd.