Many people know the familiar expression: “An apple a day and you don’t need a doctor.” Although the expression was first coined in 1913, it is based on a Pembrokeshire proverb that originated in 1866. In fact, Notes and Queries magazine was the first to publish the original quote:
Eat an apple before bed and you won’t let the doctor earn his living
health benefits of apples
While studies show that eating more apples may not actually be associated with fewer doctor visits, adding apples to your diet may improve some aspects of your health.
Let’s take a closer look at whether eating an apple every day really “saves the doctor” Apples have a number of benefits that promote long-term health.
Apples are rich in important nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One medium apple contains the following nutrients:
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Fiber: 4.5 grams
Vitamin C: 9% DV
Copper: 5% DV
Potassium: 4% DV
Vitamin K: 3% DV
In particular, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing harmful compounds known as free radicals and protecting against disease.
Apples are also a great source of antioxidants like quercetin, caffeic acid, and epicatechin.
The effect of apples on heart health
Studies show that eating more apples may reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease. One study of more than 20,000 adults found that eating more white-fleshed fruits and vegetables, including apples, reduced the risk of stroke. This may be due to the presence of flavonoids in apples, which reduce inflammation and protect the heart.
Apples are also rich in soluble fiber, which can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, risk factors for heart disease.
Content of anti-cancer compounds
Apples contain several compounds, including antioxidants and flavonoids, that may prevent cancer formation. According to one review of 41 studies, eating more apples was associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer.
Another study showed similar results, where eating more apples was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Other studies show that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may protect against cancers of the stomach, colon, lungs, mouth, and esophagus.
However, more research is needed to evaluate the potential anti-cancer effects of apples and to determine if other factors may be involved.
Other health benefits of apples
Apples are also linked to several other health benefits:
Maintaining normal weight. Due to their fiber content, apples have been shown to induce satiety. This means lowering your calorie intake and losing weight.
Improved bone health. Human, animal, and test-tube studies have shown that eating more fruit may be associated with an increase in bone mineral density and a reduced risk of osteoporosis.
Promoting the work of the brain. Animal studies show that eating apples helps reduce oxidative stress, prevent mental decline, and slow signs of aging.
Asthma protection. Studies show that increased consumption of apples may reduce the risk of asthma attacks.
Reduce your risk of diabetes. According to one large review, eating one apple a day was associated with a 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to no apples at all.
Apples are nutritious and have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved heart health and reduced risk of certain types of cancer.