Does an Apple a Day Really Keep the Doctor Away?
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
It rhymes, it sounds simple enough, but is it true?
Right now, we know one thing for sure: this popular piece of advice has been around for longer than a century, as it dates back to 1913. In fact, its origin is even older, coming from a Pembrokeshire proverb from 1866.
The original quote, as published in the Notes and Quotes magazine, said:
‘Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.’
Now that our little history lesson is done, let’s get straight to the facts: is eating apples daily going to cut our doctor visits?
Unfortunately, apples aren’t a wonder natural medicine that can magically make diseases go away. However, they can be an excellent addition to a balanced lifestyle that keeps us safe and healthy in the long run!
With that in mind, let’s see the nutritional and health benefits this fruit really has to offer:
Apples are a valuable source of vitamins, fiber and minerals, but what makes them truly important these days is their high antioxidant content.
Antioxidants are powerful allies for the immune system as they can naturally eradicate toxins from your body (known as free radicals). For a more detailed look into antioxidants and the toxins we all have inside, check out this in-depth post.
Now let’s have a look at the exact nutritional content of a regular apple, as per the United States Department of Agriculture:
- Fiber:5 grams
- Carbs: 25 grams
- Vitamin K: 3% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin C: 9% of the DV
- Potassium: 4% of the DV
- Copper: 5% of the DV
Since one apple only packs about 95 calories, it’s the perfect ingredient for a daytime snack or even a breakfast addition.
Apples may prevent cancer
Okay, this is a broad statement, but consuming apples frequently can indeed reduce your chances of developing cancer in the long run.
Let’s take for example this 2016 research published in the Public Health Nutrition magazine. After reviewing 41 studies, researchers were able to link consuming apples with a decreased risk of lung cancer. Amazing!
Another (more general) study proved that adopting a diet rich in fruits can keep you safe from stomach, colon, lungs, oral cavity and esophagus cancers.
Your heart will benefit too
Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in our country, I think it’s crucial to know that apples can keep this organ healthy as well.
This study published in the Stroke magazine analyzed more than 20,000 participants. Researchers found that eating fruits and vegetables with white flesh (apples included!) can lower the overall risk of stroke.
Researchers aren’t sure about the cause of this benefit yet, but they suspect it may be the high content of flavonoids in apples. These compounds can reduce inflammation and therefore protect your heart over time.
Other important benefits
Still not convinced about the benefits of eating apples? This shortlist of health benefits may convince you for good:
- Stronger bones. Eating fruits daily can increase the mineral density of your bones, thus lowering your long-term risk for developing osteoporosis. This fact has been long proven through animal and human studies such as this one.
- Improved brain functions. Studies performed on animals showed that eating more apples can reduce oxidative stress, therefore preventing mental decline caused by aging.
- Weight loss. Apples are an excellent source of fiber, which is known for promoting satiety and helping you avoid unhealthy snacks.
If you’re not a huge fan of eating apples, you can subtly introduce them in your smoothies. This healthy apple smoothie recipe may be the perfect way to get started!
Looking for more useful nutrition content? Check out our posts below:
- 5 Ways to Eat Healthier From 5 Registered Dietitians
- Why Do So Many People Add Salt to Cheap Coffee?
- Did You Know These 7 Foods Can Give You Gas?