Apples – not as good as we thought?
You may have heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.
Another version of the saying was mentioned in the February 1866 edition of Notes and Queries magazine as: “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”
Up until recently, it was assumed that apples were a rich source of nutrition. However, when we look at the data on the content of apples we find a food with a relatively small range of nutrients.
So where did this saying of keeping the doctor away come from if apples aren’t really that amazing?
Does science have it wrong – or is history mistaken?
To answer this we need to look more closely at how apples were eaten in the 19th century!
It was common practice to eat an apple with Caraway seeds pushed into it, just before going to bed.
Adding the caraway seeds changes the nutritional balance, and when we look at the nutrient properties of the seeds we find a totally different picture when compared to apples.
Caraway seeds are packed full of nutrients including:
90% of your daily value (DV) of Iron
69% DV of Calcium
64% DV of Magnesium
And lots more!
So, it seems that the almighty apple might not be so mighty after all!
It looks as if the caraway seeds are the thing that ‘keeps the Doctor away’.
Reference Annemarta Borgen (1973) book Urtehagen på Knatten (in Norwegian)
But it’s not all bad for apples.
They are actually still a good food that are full of antioxidants including: quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid that counteract the damaging effects of free radicals and cholesterol.
- Treat Qi Deficiency
- Treat Yin Deficiency
- Clear Heat
Qi is the word used in Chinese Fertility Medicine to describe energy, life force, or vitality inside and outside the body.
Qi is the non-physical aspect of your body that makes all of your organs and systems work.
This means that it’s vital for the function of all aspects of your fertility, and pregnancy health too. When your Qi is deficient your body struggles to function efficiently, and this can lead to a variety of fertility issues.
When Qi becomes more severely deficient you will likely present with hormone imbalance, typically with reduced Progesterone, Testosterone and/or FSH levels. In some cases the FSH can rise and present itself as being elevated, due to the ovaries or testes being underactive and sluggish (tired).
Yin Deficiency is a pattern of imbalance in Chinese Fertility Medicine that describes depleted fluid levels of the body.
This is not dehydration as such, but a deep and longer term type of fluid deficiency or dryness of the tissues and cells.
Reduced fluid levels in the body interfere with temperature regulation, blood and fluid circulation, and delivery of nutrients and vital substances to your cells (including egg and sperm cells), tissues, and organs.
Heat is a pattern of imbalance in Chinese Fertility Medicine that refers to one or more of the following: a feeling of heat in your body, a measured fever, or some type of inflammation typically related to infection.
It presents with signs of over-activity, mood changes, inflammatory issues, discolouration of body fluids, and symptoms of dryness and heat.
Too much heat typically affects the fluid and blood balance of the body and this can impact egg and sperm quality to varying degrees.
Vitamin A: Is necessary for the growth and repair of many body cells including bones, teeth, collagen and cartilage. It’s also involved in cell differentiation where cells become specific types of cells such as a liver cell or a blood cell. This is vital for the development of your healthy baby. Supplementation does not offer balanced forms of Vitamin A.
Vitamin B1: Thiamine is involved in the production of energy through the breakdown of sugars and carbohydrates. This is important for cellular health, which may also influence the health and energy of sperm and egg cells. It’s also important for energy support during pregnancy.
Vitamin B2: Research shows that Riboflavin can act as an antioxidant, which helps to combat against harmful free radicals. Free radicals are known to negatively impact sperm and egg health, and so antioxidants are a vital part of the human diet.
Vitamin B3: Niacin as with most other B vitamins is involved in energy production within the mitochondria of your cells (the powerhouse of the cell). Pregnancy requires good levels of niacin, as does breast feeding.
Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine is involved in breaking many types of chemical bonds and is a component of many enzymes – which are involved in breaking down foods and substances, and also regulating steroid hormones.
Vitamin B9: Folate is an important nutrient for general and fertility health. It’s involved in the creation of DNA as well as the building of proteins, and many other important functions including the healthy development of your baby’s’ spinal cord. During pregnancy folate also supports the growth of the placenta and helps to prevent several types of birth defects, especially those of the brain and spine.
Vitamin C: For fertility health Vitamin C is important in the process of absorption and also in its ability to support the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect cells against damage caused by free radicals. This nutrient is really helpful in protecting sperm and egg cells from free radical damage, which can damage the DNA of the cell and may lead to morphology issues – in sperm and eggs.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is an essential nutrient necessary for responding to injuries as it regulates normal blood clotting. Vitamin K can be particularly useful if you suffer from heavy and/or painful periods as it can help slow down the blood flow and reduce cramping.
Potassium: Is an electrolyte which counteracts the effects of sodium, helping to maintain consistent blood pressure levels – another important element for pregnancy.
Phosphorus: Is an element that plays an important role in how the body uses carbohydrates and fats. It is also needed for the body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues. It is essential in our diet and particularly in children when growth and development occurs.
Magnesium: Supports a healthy immune system as well as keeps bones strong. It is also great for stress and combined with vitamin B6 can help induce sleep and alleviate symptoms of bloating and weight gain associated with PMS.
Manganese: is a naturally occurring mineral which aids in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones.
Iron: Is a mineral that the body uses to carry oxygen in the blood and plays a key role in strengthening the immune system and helps regulate body temperature.
Calcium: Calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones, support heart health, and for optimal function of the muscles and nerves. It is also required alongside Vitamin D to aid in its use throughout the body.
Zinc: Zinc is essential for the repair and function of DNA, which affects sperm and egg quality. It’s also essential for the rapid growth of cells and the building of major parts of cells during a pregnancy. The development and enzyme activity that takes place during pregnancy is supported by zinc, which means that this is one of the most important nutrients for babies and mothers.
Season available: Because of the different varieties grown all over the world, apples can be found all year round, but they are technically an autumn and winter fruit.
How it’s typically eaten: Eat raw in small quantities but if you suffer with coldness then they are best baked and eaten with a sprinkle of ginger or cinnamon powder.
Avoid if you have an underactive digestive system or lots of Dampness.
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