An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away – is it a Myth Or Real

Updated on January 31st, 2021
Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ – this brilliant phrase that has been spouted for hundreds of years was actually taken up from the classic English saying, “An apple before going to bed keeps the doctor from earning his bread.”

It has been used repeatedly without anyone having questioned its veracity. Know more if apples are the only fruit that can keep us disease-free? 

We know apples are rich in Vitamin A, C, and E. They’re also plentiful in phytonutrients that curb harm caused by free radicals and thereby prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases [1]. They’re also part of a variety of teeth whitening fruits.

According to present research, crisp or firm foods are known to help clean teeth as they’re eaten. They can also destroy the bacteria in the mouth and prevent tooth decay

Although studies show that eating more apples may not actually be linked with fewer visits to the physician, adding apples to the diet can help improve several aspects of health. This write-up takes a closer look at whether having an apple a day can truly help keep the physician away.

Health Benefits

Apples have been linked with a number of benefits that could help promote long-term health.

1. Highly Nutritious

Apples are loaded with essential nutrients, including vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals.

One medium apple provides the following nutrients [2]:

  • Fiber: 4.5 grams
  • Carbs: 25 grams
  • Copper: 5% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 9% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin K: 3% of the DV
  • Potassium: 4% of the DV
  • Calories: 95

In specific, vitamin C functions as an antioxidant to neutralize dangerous compounds called free radicals and protects against disease [3]. Apples are also a fantastic source of antioxidants like caffeic acid, quercetin, and epicatechin.

2. Supports heart health

Research shows that eating more apples could be linked with a lower risk of several chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease. One research in over 20,000 adults discovered that consuming higher amounts of white-fleshed vegetables and fruits, including apples, was associated with a lower risk of stroke.

This can be because of the existence of flavonoids present in apples, which are compounds that have been shown to safeguard heart health and reduce inflammation. Apples are also laden with soluble fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels, both of which are risk indicators for cardiovascular disease.

3. Contains cancer-fighting compounds

Apples contain several compounds that can help prevent cancer formation, including flavonoids and antioxidants [4]. According to one assessment of 41 studies, consuming a higher amount of apples was linked with a decreased risk of contracting lung cancer.

Another review noted similar findings, reporting that eating more apples was linked with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Another study suggests that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits could protect against cancer of the colon, stomach, lungs, oral cavity, and esophagus.

However, more research is needed to evaluate apples’ potential anticancer effects and ascertain whether other aspects may be involved.

Other health benefits

Apples have also been associated with several other health benefits that could help keep the physician away:

1. Support weight loss

Due to their fiber composition, apples have decreased calorie intake, promoted feelings of fullness, and increased weight loss.

2. Improve bone health

Animal, human, and test-tube studies have found that eating a higher amount of fruit could be linked with a lower risk of osteoporosis and increased bone mineral density.

3. Promote brain function 

Animal studies indicate that eating apples could help prevent mental decline, reduce oxidative stress, and slow aging signs.

4. Protect against asthma

Research shows that an increased intake of apples may be associated with a lower risk of asthma. Reduce the risk of diabetes. According to one large study, eating one apple per day was linked with a 28% lower chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes, compared with not having any apples at all.

5. Potential downsides

Eating an apple daily is unlikely to harm our health. However, it’s likely to have too much of a good thing, and eating multiple apples each day may lead to several adverse side effects. In particular, rapidly increasing your fiber intake can cause symptoms like bloating, gas, and stomach pain over a short period.

Like other fruits, apples also have a good chunk of carbs in each serving. While this isn’t an issue for most individuals, those following a ketogenic or low-carb diet may need to tone down their intake.

Other healthy options

Rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, apples are an excellent addition to the diet and can offer various health benefits. However, many vegetables and fruits offer a similar set of nutrients and can be equally advantageous for health.

Plus, incorporating a variety of other vegetables and fruits into the routine can add more nutritional value and flavor to the diet. Here are a few other veggies and fruits that you can swap in for apples from time to time:

  • blueberries
  • bananas
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • kale
  • grapefruit
  • peaches
  • mango
  • pineapples
  • pears
  • spinach
  • raspberries
  • tomatoes
  • strawberries

Bottom Line

Although having more apples may not literally be linked with fewer visits to the doctor, apples are rich in nutrients. They offer several benefits for long-term health and disease prevention. Apart from apples, many other vegetables and fruits provide a similar set of health benefits and nutrients.

For best results, enjoy various vegetables and fruits as part of a nutritious, well-rounded diet.

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