Author: Dawn W.Y. Woo, DMD, MSD
pples are one of my favorite foods. There are so many varieties and so many ways they can be eaten. I think it is safe to say that just about everyone knows that apples are healthy. They are a source of fiber (pectin), phytochemicals (quercetin, catechin, chlorogenic acid, anthocyanin) and vitamin C, but more on that later.
Here are some fun and maybe lesser known facts about apples.
How did the Apple come to be known as “Apple?” a.k.a. Etymology
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Indo-Europeans cultivated a fruit similar to a crab apple and called it abel-. As this abel spread through Europe it was known as Apfel by the Germans, appel by the Dutch, äppel by the Swedish, jabloko by the Russians, afal by the Welsh and apple by the English.
Origin of Apples= Where were the first apples grown?
Scientists traced the origin of the apple to the Tian Shan Mountains in Central Asia- a region where Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China meet (reported by Public Radio International).
Apple Fun Facts= Did you know?
Apples are Climacteric which means they continue to ripen after harvest. The ripening process is controlled by the plant hormone ethylene and a rise in cellular respiration. This process was theorized for many years and proven by the scientists at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in 2008. Other climacteric fruits are apricots, avocados, bananas, blackberries, kiwis, plums, peaches, pears and tomatoes.
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility. “Apples And Pears Contain Pathways To ‘Breathe’.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2008.
Malic Acid is the primary acid in apples. Its chemical formula is C4H605 and is a dicarboxylic acid. It was first isolated by Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1785. He also discovered oxygen, chlorine and manganese. The sourness of maleic acid helps make saliva in the mouth. This same acid can also cause enamel to breakdown. You should eat apples, but eat it all at once instead of snacking on it over a long period of time.
Apples were once sold by costermongers in the streets of big cities in Britain. Costermonger is an old British word for a person who sells fruits and vegetables from a cart or street stand. The word costermonger comes from “costard” which was a variety of apple that was large, ribbed and now extinct and “monger” which means seller.
If you have and apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. -George Bernard Shaw (winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925)
Apples and History
Sir Isaac Newton came up with the laws of gravity after an apple fell from a tree and hit him on the head, or did he?
Although Sir Isaac Newton never left a written account that his laws of gravity were inspired by a falling apple, there were others who wrote of the event. The most famous and well-detailed account was by William Stukeley who wrote the first biography of Sir Isaac Newton. In Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton, Stuckley recounts a conversation he had with Newton in 1726 in London. As the story goes, Newton had returned to his family home at Woolsthorpe Manor when Cambridge University was closed during the plaque in 1666. While there, he noticed that the apple(s) always fell perpendicularly to the ground.
The famed apple tree is on the grounds of Woolsthorpe Manor to this day and produces the Flower of Kent apple.
Apples and Health
Apples are high in Flavonoids which are a sub-class of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring plant chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors. Scientists have found that they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Quercin is the predominant flavonoid in apples.
Apples are also high in pectin. Pectin is a type of soluble fiber. It slows down digestion by turning water in a thick gel. Research scientists in Tokyo, Japan found that pectin levels off blood sugar levels, reduces LDLs (bad cholesterol), prevents atherosclerosis and provides prebiotics. The prebiotics promote probiotics which promotes digestive health.
A medium-sized apple (3 inch diameter) has 95 calories, 1 gram protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, 19 grams of naturally occurring sugar and 3 grams of sugar.
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