Apple

Malus domestica Borkh

Introduction of Apple

The cultivated apple (Malus domestica Borkh ) is reported to have originated in the temperate region of western Asia, between the Black Sea and the Caspian sea. Apple is a symbol of health, beauty and love. This fruit has universal cultivation and worldwide consumption in many forms.

Origins of Apples

From the Alps to the present day

To start with its roots, Apple, originally a member of the rose family or Rosaceae, originated in Dzungarian Alps. Apple was very popular in Kazakhstan and China, where it was consumed as a wild fruit. Gradually, the power food made its way into Asia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. A stone tablet found in Mesopotamia, dating back to 1500 B.C., narrates the story of an Apple orchard in exchange of a herd of sheep. 

Europeans brought apple stock to Virginia and Southwest. John Chapman, who in later years came be known as john Appleseed planted apple trees throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. With time people discovered the various facts about apple fruit nutrition, which led to a flourishing multi-billion dollar fruit industry.

Cultural and mythological significance

Apple has huge cultural and mythological significance. According to Christian tradition, Eve insisted Adam share an apple with her, which happened to be a forbidden fruit. Since then apple symbolizes temptation, knowledge, and sin. On the other hand, ancient Greek scriptures denoted the fruit as a symbol of beauty and love. According to Greek mythology, Heracles was asked to pluck golden Apples from the Tree of Life in the Garden of the Hesperides, as part of his Twelve Labors. In ancient Greece, an apple was considered to be sacred to Aphrodite, and throwing an Apple at someone meant falling in love with the person. 

Apple Today and to Tomorrow

The humble apple has come a long way. From a wild fruit today it is almost a life-saving element. Apart from its daily use as raw fruit and juice, apple fruit’s health benefits have made it amongst the highest exported fruits in demand. Nearly 8000 varieties of apples are grown across the world. In the US alone, it constitutes about 90% of the fruit cultivation and makes for a flourishing industry. Apple will continue to enjoy the queen’s place in the fruit basket of the world and will reap returns in the years to come.

Nutrition Facts of Apple

  •  “An apple a day, keep doctor away”. Apple has become the most famous fruit in the world.
  • Apple is packed with nutrients, the dietary fiber in apple can act as prebiotics to promote digestive health and regulate bowel movement.
  • Besides, the antioxidant agents inside such as quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid can help to reduce cell damage.

Antioxidant Role

Apples contain high levels of an antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin which is also found abundantly in onions, tea and red wine, and may be important in protecting the lungs from the harmful effects of atmospheric pollutants and cigarette smoke.

Dr Mike Pearson, a former press officer for the British Thoracic Society, said the theory was “plausible”.

He said there were several studies supporting the idea that diets high in Vitamins C and E may be good for preventing asthma, and it might be that apples contained other antioxidants that produced the same effect.

Dr Pearson said: “The idea is that people with high levels of antioxidants circulating in their blood are in a better position to deal with an inflammatory reaction when it occurs.”

The body produces an inflammatory reaction in response to foreign invaders, such as pollutants. This reaction releases highly reactive molecules known as free radicals which cause damage to the tissue.

Antioxidants work by mopping up these free radicals before they can cause damage.

Dr Pearson said that if Vitamins C and E were shown to be effective in helping asthma sufferers, they might also act to slow deterioration of lung function in other people.

Chairman of the British Lung Foundation, Dr Mark Britton, said the research provided more “exciting evidence” of a link between a healthy diet and healthy lungs.

He said: “More importantly, this study also highlights a new way that people can potentially protect their lungs – as well as helping people with lung disease breathe easy.”

Prevent Several Health Conditions

Apples are a popular fruit, containing antioxidants, vitamins, dietary fiber, and a range of other nutrients. Due to their varied nutrient content, they may help prevent several health conditions.

Rujukan:

The research is published in the medical journal Thorax. | BBC News : Apples Protect the Lungs. | Medical News Today : What to know about apples |