Do you know where the term, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” comes from? It was published in 1913 based on the original quote from Notes and Queries magazine, “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”
Of course many of us have heard this familiar phrase and we’re encouraged to eat applies for their healthy benefits. Let’s take a closer look at just what those benefits are and how they can help us stay health. To be clear research shows that eating an apple a day may not actually reduce visits to your doctor; however, eating an apple does have several positive effects on your overall health.
Apple’s nutrients, vitamins and minerals
According to Food Data Central from the United States Department of Agriculture apples have many important vitamins and minerals; as well as healthy fiber. One medium apply has the following:
- Calories: 95
- Carbs: 25 grams
- Fiber: 4.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 9% of recommended daily value
- Copper: 5% of daily value
- Potassium: 4% daily value
- Vitamin K: 3% daily value
While one apply won’t provide your full daily required intake of vitamin C, it’s important to note that it’s nearly 10% of your daily requirement and the benefits of vitamin C as an antioxidant, which neutralizes free radicals and protects against disease, play an important part in overall good health. In addition to vitamin C, apples also have other antioxidants like quercetin (flavonoid), caffeic acid (antioxidant) and epicatechin (polyphenol/antioxidant); according to an article in PubMed, published by the National Institutes for Health.
Apples support heart health
In a study, “Apples and cardiovascular health — is the gut microbiota a core consideration?” researchers found eating more applies could be associated with lowering your risk of several chronic conditions, including heart disease. After studying more than 20,000 adults; researchers found, consuming more “white-fleshed” fruits and vegetables, like apples, indicated a lower risk of stroke. This is likely due to flavonoids in apples; these compounds are known to reduce inflammation thus protecting the heart. Researchers also found, since apples are high in soluble fiber, they can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol; both of which are significant risk factors for heart disease.
Apples help fight cancer risk
According to the National Institutes of Health since apples are loaded with antioxidants and flavonoids they may help lower your cancer risk. In over 41 separate studies researchers found; eating apples was associated with a decreased risk of developing lung cancer. Other studies also announced similar findings and reported apples are also linked to lowering your risk of colorectal cancer. Additional research stated, diets that include daily consumption of fruits and vegetables help protect against cancer of the stomach, colon, lungs, oral cavity, and esophagus. While researchers also state more research is required to determine the specific effects apples may have on cancer prevention; these early findings are certainly encouraging.
Apples surprising health benefits
Did you know apples have several other surprising benefits; some are:
- Reducing risk of diabetes: eating one apple per day was tied to a 28% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Promote brain health: apples may reduce oxidative stress, prevent mental decline and slow signs of aging
- Improve bone health: consuming more fruit increases bone mineral density and lowers risk of osteoporosis
- Protect against asthma: several studies found applies are linked to lowering risk of asthma
- Support weight loss: the fiber in apples promote feeling full and decrease calorie intake assisting in weight loss
As you can see, there are numerous reasons for eating an apple a day; however, as with anything, too much of a good thing can be a negative. While highly nutritious and both heart healthy and lower cancer risk, like with most fruits apples are a carb so if you are watching your carb intake consider swapping other carbs for an apple. Lastly, with all that fiber and water, eating too many each day could give you digestive issues. So, like the saying goes; keep it to one a day.
The information is this article is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. Please consult your doctor for all heath related questions/issues and before beginning any exercise or nutrition program. Your doctor can help you determine an individualized plan that’s best for you.