By Rena Unger | June 15, 2011


Photo: Rena Unger

From forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, to super food celebrated by Johnny Appleseed (Chapman) for its ability to keep evil spirits away, the apple is an incredible fruit that is deeply rooted in our healing and agricultural history. We have all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and there is quite a bit of truth to this. Let’s explore what makes an apple so beneficial to our health: 

*High in fiber which stabilizes blood sugar, promotes weight loss and healthy digestion

*With 80% water content (same as the human body), apples not only quench your thirst and cool the body, but act as a super cleanser for the entire system!

*Great source of powerful flavonoids that reduce the risks of heart disease, certain cancers, strokes, infections, colitis and inflammation

*High pectin content promotes beneficial intestinal flora growth (pro-biotic) and supports regular colon function

*Long history of being used to cleanse the liver and gallbladder, especially green apples which have the ability to soften gallstones

*Great source of vitamins A & C and potassium

*Traditional Chinese Medicine attributes the apple with supporting the spleen-stomach-pancreas meridian, reducing fevers and keeping the lungs cool

*Apple phenols have been attributed with providing UVB protection against sun damage

*Unlike other fruit which can be hard to digest because it ferments easily in our digestive track, apples contain malic and tartaric acid which slow down their fermentation making them easier to digest

Apples are a temperate zone fruit readily available almost all year long. Known for their incredible biodiversity, there are thousands and thousands of different varieties of apples. It has been said that if you plant a dozen seeds from the same apple, the seeds will yield a dozen different apple trees. Strong biodiversity means wide variety in taste! Apples are a great ingredient to incorporate into any dish, sweet or savory. They are delicious raw on their own, baked, steamed, sauteed, dried, braised, pureed into apple sauce, candied and fermented. It is best to buy apples from your local farmers market in order to avoid the harmful chemicals and waxed coating often found with conventional apples. Cool off and enjoy my recipe below for Refreshing Apple and Fennel Salad.

Give in to the temptation of the proverbial forbidden fruit, eat well!

Rena Unger – Holistic Nutrition Chef and Culinary Educator

If you would like to reach out to Rena Unger personally please click here.

  • 1 large or 2 small apples, cut into thin long strips (julienne)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of parsley, leaves de-stemmed
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup almonds, chopped
For dressing
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


1. Slice apples and toss in a large bowl with 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to prevent browning.

2. Add fennel, parsley, scallions and almonds to apples.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar, garlic, honey and Dijon using a whisk. While whisking, add the olive oil in a steady stream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat. Serve.

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