The apple is considered “protective” and most wholesome food. Apart from its energy value, it plays an important role in the normal development of metabolic functions- i.e. the chemical and physical changes take place within the body and enable its continued growth and functioning.
Origin of Apples
The apple is a native of Eastern Europe and Western Asia has been cultivated from the pre-historic times. It has mentioned in the annals of old China, Babylon and Egypt. The Bible also contains several references of apples. The Scandinavians called it “the food of God” and believed that apple possessed medicinal properties to regenerate both mind and body. Nearly 7,500 varieties of the apples are grown all over the world.
Apple: Nutritional Benefits
The apple is a highly nutritive food. It contains minerals and vitamins in abundance. The food value of the apple is chiefly constituted by its contents of sugar which ranges from 9 to 51 percent. Of this, fruit sugar contains 60 percent and glucose 25 percent and cane sugar only 15 percent.
Raw apples generally contain a small quantity of starch which gets wholly converted into sugar during the process of ripening. The acid content of the apple is also increased together with the sugar. The acid is constituted mostly by malic acid and which is completely utilised by the body.
The skin of the apple should not be discarded when taking it in raw form as the skin and the flesh just below it contain more vitamin C than the inner flesh. The vitamin content decreases gradually towards the center of the fruit. The apple skin also contains five times more vitamin A than the flesh.
Apples are invaluable in the maintenance of good health and the treatment of many ailments. It was said long ago- ‘to eat an apple before going to bed will make the doctor beg his bread’. The active medicinal principle of apple is pectin, natural therapeutic ingredient found in the inner portion of the rind and the pulp pectin aids in detoxification by supplying the ‘galacturonic acid’ needed for the elimination of certain harmful substances. It also helps to prevent decomposition of protein matter in the alimentary canal. The malic acid contained in the apple is beneficial to the bowels, liver and the brain.
The apple is generally taken raw and is used as a dessert fruit. Apples can be used as a salad and taken with other fruits. Apple can also used in the form of dried apple, apple jelly, apple juice or cider and vinegar. Freshly prepared apple juice is one of the best fruit juices.