Why You Really Should Eat an Apple a Day

Jan 27, 2022 | Health & Wellness

‘Tis the season of apples! Almost 160 years ago a saying came out of Pembrokeshire Wales: “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” The adage took on a few new forms, though the rhyme remained. “An apple a day, no doctor to pay” became “an apple a day sends the doctor away,” all the way until 1922, when we arrived at the expression we all know today.

But for as long as I’ve been aware that an apple a day would keep the doctor away, I definitely haven’t eaten my daily helping of the doctor-repelling fruit. Here’s what I’m missing out on, and why the apple has earned its place as one of the world’s most famous fruits.

Wisdom Through the Ages

The longevity of the expression is due to the historic reputation of the apple. Apples have been recognized for their healthful properties long before the first rhyme was coined on the subject, with proof of its use in Ayurvedic medicine dating back 1,500 years in southern Asia and amongst the ancient Romans and Anglo-Saxons.

Why Are They So Healthy?

Apples, eaten with their skins, are rich in vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, dietary fibre, flavonoids, and antioxidants, as well the minerals calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. The health benefits of apples include:

  • Improved neurological health by protecting neurons from oxidative stress and neurotoxicity, reducing risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Reduced risk of thrombotic stroke in a study of more than 9,000 men and women.
  • Lowered bad cholesterol. A study found that women who ate an apple a day in a six month period had 23% less bad cholesterol and 4% more good at the end of the trial.
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in a study of almost 190,000 adults (7% lower risk).
  • Combatting obesity by nurturing the gut’s good bacteria, with a recent study finding that Granny Smith apples had the most positive effect.

Surprising Apple Facts

  • Apples, like pears and plums, actually belong to the rose family.
  • If you tried a new kind of apple every day, it would take you 20 years to try each variety grown throughout the world.
  • Refrigerating your apples makes them last 10 times longer.
  • The science of apple-growing is call pomology.
  • In two servings of Metamucil, you get the same amount of fibre contained in one apple.
  • A medium-sized apple has about 80 calories.
  • The only apple native to the U.S. is the crabapple.
  • The heaviest apple recorded weighed the same as a teacup Chihuahua (about three pounds).
  • Thinking of making apple cider this winter? It will take 36 apples to produce a gallon.

Apple Tips

Before running to your local farmer’s market just yet, here’s a few apple-eating tips to keep in mind.

  1. Apple seeds contain cyanide, a serious poison. Don’t eat them!
  2. Eat those skins though! That’s where most of the fibre and antioxidants can be found. Studies have shown that pesticides don’t pose a risk, as only low levels, if any, have been found in residue on the skin. Just wash before eating.
  3. Apples can come in huge sizes, but for your apple a day, look for the ones that are about 2.5 inches in diameter.
  4. They’re acidic, so dentists advise eating quickly and brushing your teeth afterward to prevent damage to your teeth enamel.
  5. Use them as vehicles for protein-rich peanut butter and yogurt!