Apples are a wonderful health food. ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, we used to say, and I think there is some truth in this old adage.
Apples are a great natural cleanser of the digestive system, including the intestines. This makes them very helpful in preventing or treating cancer. A good heritage apple eaten daily will help lower cholesterol, thus helping to prevent heart attack and stroke, and provide many valuable vitamins and nutrients as well.
For best health benefits, of course it is best to eat the whole, unpeeled apple. Even the pips of the apple are benefial, as these contain laetrile, or amygdalin, also called Vitamin B17, which has been used to good effect in treating cancer. Be cautious about eating too many pips, though – the pips of one or two apples per day should be more than enough for a person of average build who is in good health. More pips could be taken if one was treating cancer or another degenerative disease, but it is important to get some advice on an appropriate cleansing diet, preferably with the use of enemas, in the case of treating cancer and other serious disease with the help of laetrile. You can over-do the pip therapy, as the pips also contain traces of cyanide.
If you can grow or procure apples heritage apples, and you eat at least one a day, then you are less likely to develop serious degenerative disease, such as cancer, than if you ate no apples, or ate commercially grown modern varieties. This is a proven fact: In the February 2005 publication of the ‘Growing Today’ magazine, I found an article about the proven benefits of eating heritage apples in preference to newer, commercial varieties.
The article also quotes a 2002 National Public Health study from Helsinki:
The study group of people who ate several heritage apples per day over many years had not any signs of serious diseases such as cancer, arthritis, obesity or diabetes at the end of the study. The health of these people was far superior in every way to the people who ate few, or no apples per day.
The fact is that heritage apples, or seedling trees which have been grown from scratch in your garden, have a higher amount of phytonutrients than the modern, commercial types of apples. Supermarket varieties are mostly grown for their appearance, and their storage qualities, rather than the amount of ‘goodness’ within the apple.
Heritage apple trees, and seedling trees, are generally much hardier and need less attention than modern commercial strains, as they are more bug resistant, and disease resistant than their modern rivals. This means that they need less spraying, whether or not you use organic or commercial poison methods.
At the top of the list of heritage apples, according to studies done in NZ and elsewhere, are the Monty’s Surprise and Hetlina apple varieties. These two have the highest amount of phytonutrients than any other apple trees tested so far. The russet apples are also high on the list.
Generally speaking, any of the heritage apple trees will likely be higher in nutrients than any shop-bought variety which has been grown for its looks.
Here are some to consider: (note – this list will continue to grow – i will continue to add information about each variety)
Belle de Boskoop: A very old heritage variety which originated in Boskoop, Netherlands. It is a common tree throughout Europe: It is a distinctive tree, willowing out from the upper centre quite beautifully with abundant flowers followed by large handsome apples which are crisp and tart and sweeten with storage. Good for cooking, eating, and for cider.
Boskoop Rouge: A version of the Belle de Boskoop, but with a redder skin.
Gravenstein: This apple has apparently been known since the 1600’s. It originated in Denmark. A New Zealand variety of the Gravenstein is the red-fleshed, sweet-tasting, juicy Albany Beauty, which originates from the Albany area north-west of Auckland.
Hetlina: One of the highest after Monty’s Surprise for riboflavin content and other phytonutrients.
Monty’s Surprise: According to ‘Thunder Mountain’s nursery list, Monty’s Surprise is a ‘unique New Zealand seedling variety’ from the lower part of the North Island. It is very resistant to disease and is therefore capable of being grown without chemical sprays. It was re-discovered by Tree Crops Association member Mark Christensen in the 1990’s, the original Monty’s Surprise tree being around 90 years old.. Monty’s Surprise is a great cooking and dessert apple, and, eaten whole, pips, skin and all, is a powerful disease inhibitor. ‘This is to the best of our knowledge, the best anti-cancer eating apple in the world.’ (Thunder Mountain says)
Northern Spy: This is a well-known apple commonly grown in the northland areas of New Zealand, where clay and wet soils often prevail. It has excellent resistance to wooly aphids. Because of its hardiness, it is often used as a root stock for other varieties. It grows from 3 to 5 metres high.
Reinette du Canada