Every year at this time I fall in love with apples. The apple is the most well known and well loved fruit in many nations of the world.
According to Genesis 3:6, Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, gave it to Adam and their eyes were opened. This fruit of knowledge is generally represented by the apple. In Western Europe, the fruit was often depicted as an apple, possibly because of a misunderstanding of, or a pun on mălum, a native Latin noun which means evil (from the adjective malus), and mālum, another Latin noun, borrowed from Greek, which means apple. Phew!
But, in addition to being a fruit rich in symbolism, there is much plant lore assigned to the apple as well. Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.” He remarked that everywhere man migrates he takes his orchard with him.
If you ever wondered why Steve Jobs chose an apple to represent the company, the first logo offers some answers.
And, it’s one of the most recognizable expressions around: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But besides the fact that it rhymes, which makes it fun to say and easy to recall, does it really have any value? Could the common apple honestly help a person to maintain perfect health? What is so special and symbolic about an Apple?
The history of Apple’s logo mirrors that of a brand that started off with promise, faltered at times, and went back to core principles to achieve global iconic status.
The simple fruit logo with the bite taken out is the only Apple logo most of us know. But there was another. Illustrated in 1976 by Apple’s third founder, Ronald Wayne, the logo depicts Isaac Newton sitting under a tree with the famous fruit about to fall and “invent” gravity.
About the outer edges of Apple’s first logo, it reads, “Newton… A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought … Alone.”
Today Apple’s logo now belongs to the global community, a mix of cultures that may not speak the same language, but all understand the Apple “logo” to mean the exact same thing.
So maybe there’s more to the common Apple? Today’s Apple looks the part of a winner. It’s larger and more pest resistant than Grandma’s garden variety, but it doesn’t compare nutritionally to the one she used to have years ago.
A Hong Kong study has shown that antioxidants in apples known as polyphenols, which combat cellular deterioration due to aging, may help to prolong our lives and reduce the risk of heart disease. Other research has demonstrated that flavonoids in apples protect the central nervous system and may lessen the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. And there is good news about the therapeutic effects of several other compounds in apples, which combat a whole range of illness including asthma, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. One Brazilian study even showed that eating threee apples a day significantly boosted the weight loss of women on a diet.
But there is one catch. Apples regularly show up on the USDA’s top 10 list of the most contaminated fruits. And it may not be enough just to rinse them off. Even after being peeled, most conventionally grown apples contain traces of up to 10 different pesticides that are suspected to cause nervous system damage, cancer and hormone disruption.
For years I had heard what sounded like an easily dismissed old-timer’s lament, “you have to eat five apples today to get the nutrition you used to get from one apple a generation ago”. That is oversimplified, but it turns out that it is often true.
Over the past 50 years, agriculture technology expanded crop yields like never before and allowed farmers to produce two or three times more fruits, vegetables and grains. But in the rush to feed the world, modern farming methods are depleting the nutrient content of the soil. With each planting of a fast-growing, pest-resistant hybrid crop, apples have grown inferior.
The USDA has been tracking the nutrient density of 43 crops for 60 years and the trends do not look good. There are declines all over the place. And it’s not just apples that are suffering. As I understand it, there are two main factors: the genetic potential of each variety of produce and the realization of that potential. The good news is that we have a lot of control over both.
We have more food, but it’s worth less in terms of nutritional value.
Often, the doses of those nutrients needed for a therapeutic effect are simply way more than are going to be available in the average diet, even a diet constructed according to the best longevity principles.
Less nutrient-dense food, coupled with poor food choices, goes a long way toward explaining today’s epidemics of obesity and diabetes.
Organics might be the nutritional solution consumers seek, but there’s more to it.
Over the counter nutritional supplements fill dietary gaps – a kind of modern day delivery system for nutrient we can’t get enough of otherwise.
Maintaining proper nutrient levels in the body is the key to healthy living at all ages.
Start asking farmers if they are growing their produce for nutrient density. Even if you don’t fully understand the answer, the question may prompt some investigation on their end. How many times do you think the produce managers at Grocery Stores need to get that question before they start paying attention? Agriculture is a massively polluting industry. Your food choices can overhaul agricultural practices on a national level. You’re going to eat anyway. May as well change the world in the process!
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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