No biblical food is more famous and none has gotten a worse rap than the apple – despite the fact that Adam and Eve probably didn’t even see an apple, much less munch on one.
The Bible never says exactly what fruit the serpent used to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden. Tradition holds that it was an apple, but many scholars who have studied the botany of the Bible think it was more likely an apricot – maybe even a citron, an orange or a quince, a central Asian fruit that resembles a hard-fleshed yellow apple.
But else where in the Bible, the apple gets high marks for its healthful, healing powers that modern science has since confirmed.
The Ancient Greeks who lived during Bible times believed the apple healed all ailments. An Arabic author from the same era wrote: “Its scent cheers my soul, renews my strength and restores my breath.”
An article in American Medicine magazine has praised the apple as “… therapeutically effective in all conditions of acidosis, gout, rheumatism, jaundice, all liver and gallbladder troubles, nervous and skin diseases caused by sluggish liver, hyperacidity and states of autointoxication.”
Modern researchers at Michigan State University call the apple “… the all-round health food.” Here are some of the potent healing powers of apples:
- They lower both bad cholesterol and high blood pressure
- The juices in apples are highly effective virus fighters
- They help stabilize blood sugar, an important factor in controlling diabetes.
- They suppress the appetite without robbing the body of necessary nutrients, so they’re great for dieters.
- Depending on the need, they prevent constipation or help treat diarrhea.
Nutritionists suggest that eating two or three apples a day can boost the body’s protection against heart disease thanks to the fruit’s amazing ability to reduce blood pressure and lower dangerously high cholesterol levels. In fact, they say, the higher the cholesterol, the greater the benefits will be if you increase your consumption of apples. Apples also contain chemicals that scientists believed are vital in stopping cancer, and they also prevent tooth decay.
The apple’s ability to keep our hearts healthy and pumping has been confirmed by U.S., French and Italian researchers, among others. An animal study at the Institute of Physiology in France came to the startling conclusion that a diet heavy in apples actually lowered heart-damaging cholesterol levels anywhere from 28 to 52 points. _____________________________________________________________________
Bible Foods that Heal
One reason for this may be the pectin in the apple – that soluble fiber that is usually squeezed out to make jelly. The French researchers discovered that the pectin, acting with vitamin C and other natural chemicals in the apple, also forms a fortress-like shield around the heart that prevents cardiovascular disease.
In another study, when a group of 30 middle-aged men added three apples per day to their diets – without changing anything else -80% of them showed a significant reduction in cholesterol levels from 10 – 20 percent.
Even more surprising was the fact that the apple boosted the HDL, or “good” cholesterol in the blood, while reducing the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, that’s responsible for clogging up the arteries, a condition that can lead to fatal heart attacks or disabling strokes. However, for some mysterious reason, an apple-rich diet lowers cholesterol more efficiently in women than men.
Apples are an excellent food source for diabetics and others who need to control blood sugar levels. They rank high among foods that best control blood sugar. Even though the apple is a rich source of natural sugar, it does not cause a rapid or dangerous rise in blood sugar. Also, it prevents the body from pumping out too much insulin which, in turn, helps bring down blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
Some people just have to smell an apple to get the benefit. Scientists at the prestigious Yale University’s Psychophysiology Center discovered that the scent of spiced apples produces a calming effect which helps to lower blood pressure. Researchers have noted that apple eaters also suffered far fewer stress-related illnesses.
Whole apples (as opposed to just the juice) are great for dieters. The rise in blood glucose levels that occurs when you eat an apple makes you feel fuller.
In addition, the apple juice helps keep you healthy and it helps during the healing process – especially if your are suffering from colds or viruses. People who eat apples regularly have far fewer colds and upper respiratory problems. In a Michigan State study of 1,300 students, those who regularly ate apples over a three-year period made one-third fewer visits to the campus health center than non-apple eaters.
There are also indications that apples may fight certain types of cancer. The reason appears to be that apples are loaded with natural acids that have successfully blocked cancer formation in laboratory studies.
Remember that to get the best health benefit, you have to eat the whole thing, skin and all. The skin contains the high level of pectin fiber, which seems to be the basis for the fruit’s amazing powers.
The apple may also be the only healing food capable of taking care of two opposite complaints at the same time – constipation and diarrhea. First, apples or applesauce have been used for centuries to help people get back on a regular diet after suffering bouts of diarrhea. The pectin in the apple fiber apparently is the healing factor, which explains why it is included in Kaopectate, an over-the-counter diarrhea remedy.