John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, planted apple orchards all over Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana in the early 1800s - letting locals brew up hard cider (that was the main use for those crops).
These days, a bounty of fruit is available everywhere in North America.
While apples, strawberries, grapes, oranges and peaches are the favorite local crops, everything from mangoes to starfruit from around the world show up on store shelves.
Unfortunately, 50 percent of fruit consumed in the U.S. is from juice, which is fiber-free, sometimes sugar-added, always sugar-concentrated. And most Americans opt for bananas as their No. 1 fruit choice.
In fact, it's estimated that most North Americans eat only about 127 pounds of (non-juice) fresh fruit a year - about 5 ounces of fruit a day, way below the one and a half to two cups suggested as part of your five to nine servings of fruits and veggies daily.
That's a shame, because a new study of 500,000 folks shows that eating fruit significantly lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Compared with people who never eat fruit, those who enjoy it daily reduce their risk for blocked coronary arteries by 15 percent; for ischemic stroke by 25 percent; and for hemorrhagic stroke by 40 percent. And the more fruit you eat the less your chance of heart disease.
So dish up those blueberries (1/2 cup) on your whole-grain cereal; snack on the pulpy goodness of a whole orange; and bake that apple with vanilla, cinnamon and almonds for dessert.
That's the ticker!
© 2014 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Posts by Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Dr. Mike Roizen, M.D.
© King Features Syndicate