Apple health benefits have been celebrated for decades. We’re always told that eating one a day will “keep the doctor away.” That said, I’ve always wondered if that advice is really as good as we’re led to believe. Are these fruits really as great for keeping us healthy as we’re taught? Should we believe this nutritional advice just because it comes in the form of a rhyme? I decided to do some investigating to find out.
Are Apple Health Benefits as Good as We Think?
Over the last year and a half, possibly for obvious reasons, I have started wondering about the everyday medical advice I’ve heard my whole life and blindly believed. I’ve fallen down some pretty fascinating rabbit holes in the meantime. I’ve found that yes, chicken soup can be helpful in your recovery from a cold or the flu. No, going outside in cold weather isn’t what makes you catch a cold.
This last week, my deep google dive has had to do with apple health benefits. If I eat one every day, will I be less likely to have to see the doctor? Am I less likely to get sick? As far as I can tell, it’s not exactly a yes or no answer.
Where Did the Saying Come From?
The “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” saying is something that dates back to 1866. Its rhyming format first appeared that year in Wales, though it was originally “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” Honestly, I’m glad they changed it.
The new saying appeared in the United States at some time between 1913 and 1922. During the It really caught on in the US during Prohibition, when there was a movement to try to get people to focus on nutrition and wellness instead of alcohol.
In this case, it was focusing on the apple health benefits in terms of eating the fruit instead of drinking its cider, which was fermented and contained alcohol. Still, old-timey people hadn’t exactly achieved a mastery of medicine. I’m not sure I’d want to use their rhymes for my nutrition choices, either. So…further down the rabbit hole for me.
What Are the Health Benefits of Apples?
According to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, there are a wealth of apple health benefits. For one thing, they’re fresh produce, so they’re off to a good start from there. That said, they are also:
- High in phytochemicals, according to research published in the Nutrition Journal
- High in fiber
- Rich in antioxidants such as catechin, chlorogenic acid, phloridzin, and quercetin
- A great source of many vitamins and minerals
Eating apples on a regular basis has been associated with reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure and better cholesterol levels, improved digestion, stronger bones, and is a good part of a weight loss strategy.
To me, that’s convincing evidence of the health benefits of apples and I’d think they would be a good choice for any nutritious diet. Just remember to eat them with the skin on!