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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about apples. October is National Apple Month. The fruit has a long history of health benefits – some more mythical than others.


KNOY: It's Living on Earth. I'm Laura Knoy

(Music up and under: "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree")

KNOY: Around this time of year, people start looking forward to Halloween and all that candy. Fortunately for our teeth, October is also National Apple Month. Since their first harvest in ancient Asia, apples have been linked to health and well-being. In fact, wise King Solomon once dubbed the apple "the fruit of healing." Ancient Romans spoke of apples that guaranteed eternal life. And magical golden apples in Britain banish pain and injury. Such myths spawn superstitious healing practices like this cure for warts: Rub a sliced apple on the afflicted area, tie the fruit back together, bury it, and goodbye warts. One fourteenth century clergyman prescribed a diet of apples and milk for every ailment. It's no surprise that the phrase, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" was first uttered in England. These days the sentiment is still considered sound advice. Research shows apples are loaded with anti-oxidants, which help prevent heart disease, cancer, and strokes. Apples also rid your mouth of 95 percent of the bacteria that cause tooth decay. So, if King Solomon were still around, he would likely leave us with this piece of Halloween advice: Polish up a Macintosh after you've polished off your trick-or-treats. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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