3 nutritious fruits in Greek myths

  • Feb 12, 2022
  • By Renee Chan

You’ve probably played card games before, whether that’s poker or solitaire—and maybe even revisited them recently.

The truth is, the Jacks, Queens, and Kings in the deck actually stand for mythical or historical figures (1): The queen of spades, for instance, is actually Athena—the goddess of war and wisdom in Greek mythology (2).

To equip you with some juicy tidbits, we’ve rounded up 3 healthy fruits associated with this deity:

1. Olives

What’s the scoop?

The legend is that Athena and Poseidon (the sea god) had beef (3). The idiomatic kind, of course (True NOSH is PLANT-BASED!). They were bickering over who would get to be the patron deity for a city—to end this competition, they had to each create a gift for that city’s people, and the winner would be the one whose gift was more useful (3).

So, Poseidon channeled some spouting water, whereas Athena produced an olive tree—as you can imagine, like, olive the people preferred the multifunctional olive tree (and that’s how, in legend, Athens came to be!) (3).

Why are they healthy?

Olives contain antioxidant activity, which means that eating them can help protect our cells (4,5). Choose mature olives, as only those were reported to contain anthocyanins, compounds that help prevent diabetes and cancer (4,6).

Additionally, olives contain vitamin E, which is anticancer and cell-protective (7,8). As science reveals, eating olives with oil added to them can boost the amount of vitamin E your body absorbs (9)!

Which True NOSH compote/Asian sauce contains these?

Our Black Bean Sauce, Oy! Stir Sauce, and Tomato Compote! (Well, as olive oil.)

2. Apples

What’s the scoop?

In lore, Athena contested against two other goddesses for a golden apple that read “To the fairest"...and this competition eventually resulted in the Trojan War (10).

Why are they healthy?

Apples contain lots of phytochemicals, compounds linked to reduced risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease and indicated to protect against DNA damage (11,12,13).

Which True NOSH compote/Asian sauce contains these?

Our Hoisin Sauce! What a great c-hoi-ce!

3. Figs

What’s the scoop?

Athena mentored many heroes: among them, Odysseus (14). As the story goes, Odysseus met the enchantress Circe, who advised him to watch out for the monster whirlpool Charybdis (15). Later, Odysseus survived the confrontation with that monster, saving himself from drowning by clutching a fig tree’s branches (16). 

Why are they healthy?

According to research, figs, whether fresh or dried, contain lots of phenolics, with darker-skinned and ripened ones containing more of these beneficial phytochemicals (17). The skin contains more of them than does the pulp as well (so, go for unpeeled figs!) (17).

Which True NOSH compote/Asian sauce contains these?

Our Cranberry Compote—so tasty you’ll fig-ht someone for it. It's only going to be available until the end of February, so come grab it soon! Otherwise, you'll have to wait until September when we bring it back.

And there you go! Enjoy these three-of-a-kind awesome foods—and share these stories and nutrition info (and puns?)—with your loved ones when you spot a chance!

By Shawn Chang


1. https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-25258,00.html

2. https://www.worldhistory.org/athena/

3. https://kids.britannica.com/students/article/Athena/272994

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6562514/

5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31960481/

6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25745811/

7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7737178/

8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997530/

9. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171009124026.htm

10. https://www.nature.com/articles/nphys3022

11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15140261/

12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9336591/

13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17300861/

14. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Athena-Greek-mythology

15. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/excerpt-from-homers-odyssey-48963064/

16. Google Books record

17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30884655/

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published