Each of us knows the common phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
This old English proverb was first coined in 1913. It was based on a Pembrokeshire proverb that originated in 1866, which meant eating nutritious food like apples will make one healthier. Therefore, one will not need to visit the doctor often. Although research shows that eating more apples may not necessarily lessen the doctor’s visits, it can help improve many aspects of one’s health.
Does it really keep the doctor away?
For a long time, studies have shown that when fruits and vegetables are included in a diet in the right proportion, it can lower the risk of various chronic conditions. Detailed studies, however, show that apples can promote good health.
Apples are an excellent source of antioxidants that are believed to prevent damage to cells and tissues. They also defend the body against cardiovascular diseases and possibly, Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, regular apple eaters are protected from several viral infections and allergens due to the flavonoids and antioxidants present in the fruit. Eating apples every day may also improve lung function and prevent lung damage.
Scientific researchers also found that eating white-fleshed fruits like apples also lowers the risk of having a stroke and improves heart health due to the anti-inflammatory benefits of flavonoids. Additionally, apples have a high content of soluble fiber, which can reduce cholesterol, and polyphenols, which are believed to decrease blood pressure and stroke risk.
Besides this, studies suggest that a diet high in fruits and vegetables, especially apples, can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and cancers of the stomach, colon, lungs, oral cavity, and esophagus. Additionally, another significant review found out that eating an apple daily might reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 28%. However, these findings need further evaluation.
Researchers concluded that this 150-year-old phrase was only somewhat true. The number of doctor's visits was almost the same for both sets of people who did and those who did not eat apples every day. 39.0% of “apple eaters” avoided more than one yearly doctor visit as compared with 33.9% of “non-apple eaters.” It was also found that people who did eat an apple a day used fewer medications; they were more likely to successfully avoid prescription medicines (47.7% versus 41.8%). Other than an average amount of carbohydrates (fructose), dietary fiber, and vitamin C, a medium-sized apple also supplies 52 calories. But apple consumption through juices or sauces does not give the same benefits as eating it in raw form. Hence, prescribing a raw apple a day to adults aged above 50 could prevent major health issues, including heart attacks and strokes.
Such research also showed that in some cases, there was no relationship between apple “dose” and the chances of keeping the doctor away (avoiding health care services). Even if an individual had an apple every day, they would still need to go to the doctor for regular checkups, especially aged individuals.
Apples have many nutrients that fight against various chronic conditions. Hence, apple eaters might need lesser prescription medication use as compared to non-apple eaters.
If you wish to know more about “healthy diet,” please visit 8-2-8 Urgent Care Clinic, a well-known walk-in clinic in Oceanside, CA. It is open from 8 am to 8 pm, on all workdays and weekends. For more information, please visit the website.