The second most cultivated and widely-eaten fruit in the world is the apple. It seems we had to be well into the 21st century before science finally discovered its nutritional value. Not long ago, Medical News Today featured an article about the top 10 healthiest foods. Apples were number one. Apples are extraordinarily rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and marvelous dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants they contain help reduce our risk of developing cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. But there’s lots more news, too.
MAGIC FROM A HUMBLE APPLE
- Recent studies show that apples have the ability to improve neurological health as they are rich in quercetin, which reduces cellular death caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. According to research carried out at the University of Quebec, apples also reduce our risk of stroke. A large study involving 9,208 people showed that those who ate the most apples over a 28-year period had the lowest risk of stroke.
- At Florida State University, scientists praised the apple as “a miracle fruit”. Older women who ate apples every day had 23% less LDL—the bad-guy cholesterol—and 4% more HDL—the good cholesterol, over a 6 month period.
- Meanwhile, researchers at Cornell University discovered that apples can help “protect neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity”. This reduces our risk of developing disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Also at Cornell, researchers discovered that an apple a day may help prevent breast cancer.
There is some mounting evidence that apples help reduce the risk of diabetes. A large study involving 187,382 people showed that those who ate 3 servings of apples a week had a 7% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes compared to those who did not.
- Finally, researchers at Oxford University discovered that eating an apple everyday can be just as effective as statins are in preventing vascular death in people over 50.
It’s about time that contemporary research is starting to celebrate the power of the apple. I have known for 50 years that apples are a miracle food. With so many benefits and uses, it is hard to list them all.
HEADSTART TO A HEALTHIER LIFE
One of the best ways to trigger rapid detoxification in your body, and get you started on a way of living that will keep you healthy all around, is to do an organic applefast for a few days. Of course, no one experienced in the art and science of fasting should fast on water for more than a couple of days, unless they are under the watchful eye of a health practitioner well-trained in natural methods of healing—and never if they are pregnant, suffering from kidney or liver disease, or on drug therapy. But an apple fast is different. In truth, it is not a fast at all. You eat as much as you want—but only organic apples, in place of regular meals. Like the traditional water-fast, the applefast is a powerful tool for stimulating the process of detoxification on which high-level health depends.
An applefast can be used in many different ways, each of which is powerfully helpful. First, if you are keen to change the way in which you’ve been eating, an apple fast can get you off to a good start. It spurs the rapid elimination of waste, clears away food sensitivities—which can be present as a result of eating convenience foods, too much carbohydrate and sugar—and it can banish the ravages of unnatural appetite that develops due to chronic overstimulation of the digestive system.
After your first 2 or 3 day applefast, try to set aside one day each week for applefasting. A once-a-week, one day applefast is a great boost because a day a week on apples is an excellent discipline. It’s a practice that helps us break through ingrained habit patterns which make us unconscious and mechanical in the way we live, and largely unaware of what we’ve been eating.
Finally, you can also use the applefast whenever or for whatever reason you have slipped and eaten something that you know your body was not happy with. For example, if you discover you have eaten more than you really wanted, or your system has become somewhat polluted because you were trapped in a smoke-filled room the evening before. A day of applefasting quickly helps correct digestive disturbances and internal pollution problems which can result. It left unchecked, being out of sorts can trigger unnatural and excessive appetite. In effect, an applefast puts you back on track again, and can have you feeling great when you wake up the following morning.
If you’re keen to get off to a good start with detoxification, set aside two or three days for an applefast. Buy a box of organic apples. Usually the greengrocer will give you a good discount when you buy a box at a time. Or, buy three or four different kinds for variety to get you started. They must be organic. Eat as many as you like, but eat the whole apple, including the peel, the seeds and the core. You must chew it all very well, until the last drop of flavor has been extracted from the fruit. The only part you throw away is the woody stem. The apples you eat must not only be organic, they need to be fresh and eaten raw too. You can munch these crisp organic fruits au naturel, or you can grate them and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. You can even put them in a blender with clean water to make a whole apple drink.
Eat apples whenever you’re hungry throughout the day. How long you carry out your first applefast depends on how convenient it is for you to munch on nothing but apples, and on how you feel. Usually a couple of days are enough to give you a good start on spring cleaning the body from within. Three days is as much as any healthy body should do on his or her on, without being under the supervision of a health practitioner well-versed in fasting and the use of living foods.
No pregnant or lactating woman should do an applefast, nor should anyone with a kidney, liver or heart complaint, for in such cases a sudden change of diet carries with it potential dangers to health. But, if you are generally well, then a short applefast is a great way to clear the decks for a new way of healthier living. When your day or two on apples alone is finished, then you can start the next morning to apply your healthier way of eating based on fresh foods.
ONCE A WEEK TREAT
It really is a treat, too, as you’ll find after you’ve got into the swing of it. To lay aside one day of rest from the three-meals-a-day routine and spend it applefasting gives your digestive system a break. It helps clear your mind and encourages the letting go of old poor eating habits. It’s also an excellent tool for giving an extra push to the detoxification process. For me, applefasting is a pleasure. When I travel, and hate being faced with some of the airplane, hotel and restaurant food which I would otherwise be forced to eat. So instead, I carry a sack of apples with me, and munch away. I always find it increases my energy and has me sailing through whatever I have to do. I tend to vary the day of my applefast from week to week. Most often, it is Monday, because I feel that this is a good way to start the week. But when I have a commitment which entails lunch or supper or Monday, I simply shift it to a day later during the week.
THE QUICK CORRECTOR
In many ways, the most useful thing of all about the applefast is that you can call on it when you most need help to get you back on the rails again. Each of us occasionally finds ourselves in a situation where we’ve eaten something that we would rather not have eaten. You may find your system has been upset by some dish you were served the day before, which has forced the return of false appetite, and does not seem to want to go away until your digestive system is calmed and your body is balanced once more. Or perhaps you’ve overeaten—old habits die hard, and you must be patient with yourself if this does happen—or you’re under heavy stress for some reason, and feel you need help to smooth things over. The applefast is ideal as a “quick corrector” in any of these situations. Spend a day munching organic apples, and it well you to rights again, so that when you awaken the next morning you feel more centered and more yourself, ready to get back to eating good-quality foods with renewed enthusiasm and energy.
Very occasionally when someone goes on an active program of detoxification beginning with the applefast, he or she has the experience of a headache at some time within the first day or two, or feeling moody or having an upset stomach or loose bowels. This is a sign that your body is throwing off wastes at such a pace that you are experiencing what is known in natural medicine as a cleansing crisis. In fact, this happens to very few people. If you happen to be one of them, be glad. Even though it may be a bit of a nuisance for a few hours, it’s actually a good sign. Your body is taking the opportunity to get rid of a lot of debris that it wants to eliminate. If a cleansing crisis does take place, make time to relax—in a darkened room if possible—and be kind to yourself. It’s quite a feat to be ridding your body of so much old debris at once. The cleansing crisis will pass quickly, leaving you better than ever.
BEWARE THE CAFFEINE MONSTER
People most likely to get a headache as part of the cleansing crisis are those who’ve been drinking several cups of strong tea or coffee a day. This kind of reaction is triggered by your tissues dumping a lot of stored caffeine into your bloodstream all at once in order to clear it from your body. The first time this happened to me, I had been in Vienna for six days, where everybody drinks coffee—and very strong coffee indeed—all day long. Not being much of a coffee drinker myself (apart from a cup of bitter Turkish coffee once every six months after a middle-eastern meal), while there, I decided to go along with the custom. The day I left the city, I got into an airplane to return to London and to my usual way of eating, and found I was struck down by the most appalling headache which lasted about four or five hours. It was no fun, believe me. But when it passed, I did a 3 day applefast. I was left with the most wonderful feeling of freshness and lightness—the way you feel on a beautiful summer’s morning when there is a light breeze blowing. This sense of lightness is a common one for people who turn to an applefast to clear their system of stored wastes. It more than makes up for the headache or tummy upset that heralded its coming. When you experience a headache as severe as the one I had that day, it makes you appreciate even more how valuable a one-day-a-week applefast can be, and what a source of pleasure and energy. It’s something I would never want to be without.