Fact Check: Does Eating an Apple a Day Really Keep the Doctor Away?

They say eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away. What an endearing adage and one that has endured the test of time. Come to think of it, it’s hard not to conclude this one isn’t the work of some marketing genius. Many Americans today would consider it a helpful reminder to stay healthy. But is it really true? Is the claim based on science?

Our fascination with an apple may have some deep religious roots. But it’s also a centerpiece in many folklore. As we recall, it was an apple, albeit poisoned, that took Snow White away leaving the 7 dwarves princess-less for some time. Then there’s Robin Hood shooting an apple 400 meters away. And if that were not enough, there’s Apple the tech company. Certainly, the apple plays a central role in our everyday lives.

Then, don’t be surprised to know that the apple is the most consumed fruit on planet America. In 2018 alone, the total number of fresh apples consumed is 10 pounds/person. Add to the mix apple juice which is consumed 13.7 pounds/person and you have a fruit that tops every other fruit on the continent.

The Truth of the Matter

The aphorism we now are so familiar with originated in 1866 from the United Kingdom, specifically in Wales. Its form then was to keep the doctor away. That’s how they coined it at that time. And it may make your feel uneasy targeting doctors that way.

At that time (19th century), medical practice was not as evolved as it is today; it was crude. So the saying was a way to remind people to keep healthy, or they’ll face the uncertainty of the doctor of yesteryear.

Studies show that eating an apple a day is not an assurance that you’re not going to be sick. However, as sweeping as the statement is, you can’t actually set it aside. Truth be told, an apple can help people attain wellness.

One study that appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine sought to establish the relationship between apple consumption and visits to a physician. The result? Nutritional data from 8,400 people show that eating an apple a day does not mean you’re going to see the doctor far less.

But there’s a bright spot, those who took an apple a day (753 people of the study did) needed far fewer medical prescriptions. Indeed, an apple a day is not a one-shoe-fit-all medical solution. But it has its merits. To note, apples have a long list of benefits that can help promote your health long-term.

Apples for Long Life

For starters, apples are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

One apple (medium-sized) is equivalent to getting 9% of your daily vitamin C requirements, not to mention satisfy your need for carbohydrates (25 grams).


That means, all the antioxidant in an apple can boost heart health. The flavonoids in apples are notable for their ability to lower the risk of a heart stroke. Even better, apples have been instrumental in promoting health via the following:

  • Fight cancer
  • Support weight loss
  • Improve bone health
  • Enhance brain health
  • Fight diabetes
  • Protection against asthma

Don’t overdo the eating part though. Too many apples in a day is courting disaster. All that fiber intake translates to stomach problems (e.g., bloating, gas, stomach pain).

Keeping Apples Healthy

As helpful as apples are, it’s imperative we keep the apple trees in America as productive as possible. Like any other tree, an apple tree needs care. For one, they are susceptible to diseases and insect attacks. That’s why special attention must be provided to grow them as healthy as can be.

It’s a good thing a certified arborist (also called a tree doctor) can be relied upon when things do not go all too well with an apple tree. As a certified professional, an arborist can prescribe a solution in cases when your apple tree is experiencing major health issues.

A host of insects can affect the health of an apple tree. Some of these are mites, aphids, and maggots. An unmistakable sign that an apple tree is having issues is stunted growth and the discoloration of foliage.

If untreated, insect attacks and diseases ultimately make the apple tree weak, leading to its eventual death. The good news is America is not only an apple-eating country, but it’s also the top exporter in the world with exports worth over a billion dollars.

That’s a lot of apples. Even better, that’s a lot of people worldwide improving their health by taking apples.

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