Leaving apples aside, as they may be a 'special case', should we swallow or chew? Well, perhaps we should just 'eat' without thinking too hard about what we're doing, as any or all of the following could happen (none of which would be a problem): some pips might fall out of the fruit as we're eating it, unchewed pips may 'go straight through us' (and after all, if we lived in the wild without toilet facilities, those pips would move from us into the ground to grow more food - how wonderful that would be), and pips that are chewed would provide our bodies with nutrients.
Friday, 25 January 2008
Do you eat the pips?
Were you ever told that, if you ate apple pips, an apple tree would grow inside you? Do you leave the core of apples? Do you happily eat pumpkin seeds, but remove melon pips?
Many believe that we're missing a trick health-wise if we don't eat the pips. For example, Arnold Ehret, one of the founders of the naturopathic health movement 'followed a high-fruit diet consisting mainly of apples and raisins with some green leaves.'
And in Ehret's time not only the apples but also the raisins would have included seeds, which would have supplied fat and other nutrients, suggesting that as long as we eat whole undamaged foods we can be healthy on a surprisingly 'limited' diet.
Many believe there are health benefits in consuming all sorts of seeds. For example, raw food promoter David Wolfe recommends eating orange pips as 'they are nourishing and contain anti-fungal qualities'. David also advocates eating fiery papaya seeds, to 'burn out' parasites in the digestive system, but I find myself thinking that their hot, and, to be honest, not very pleasant taste might just be an indication that we shouldn't be eating them...(this would be the Natural Hygiene view)
Some people are loath to eat apple pips because they've heard they contain cyanide. Well, they do (as do the seeds of apricots, peaches and other fruits) but in such tiny amounts that you'd have to eat a very large amount to experience any ill-effects. Also, recent research suggests that cyanide, when present in tiny amounts, might have had an undeservedly bad press in the past, with evidence suggesting that the cyanide and vitamin B17 present in certain pips can fight cancerous cells when it comes into contact with them. Please note that I am NOT suggesting anyone swig pure cyanide, as that would be dangerous :-) However, others claim that if the cyanide fights cancerous cells, it's just as likely to 'fight' healthy cells too...I'd suggest that we shouldn't worry if we accidentally consume a few with our apples, but perhaps not crunch them up in large quantities...
Arguments for eating pips are persuasive, and many people do eat pips that others would discard (in Thailand melon seeds are sold as a snack). And let's ask the supermarkets to put the pips back into our grapes! The more pips in our fruit the closer to the natural types they are. The less seeds, the more hybridised and weak the strains.
What do I do? I cut open a watermelon recently and ate the flesh and the pips (feeling a bit of a daredevil). It was much less fiddly than removing them and I enjoyed it just as much if not more than usual.
And this is what remains of the last apple I ate. But I didn't try too hard to chew the pips...just in case!