There is a saying about apples that it keeps you away from the doctor. What is special about this fruit that sets it above other fruit varieties and healthy foods? Is there really a reality behind this or just a hoax?
The phrase ‘using an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ was first coined in 1913, but was based on a proverb whose history dates back to 1866. The health benefits of the fruit are widely known and accepted. But, does an apple each day really keep the doctor away? What is special about this fruit that puts it above other varieties of fruits and healthy food? Is this ideal in reducing your risk of ill health? As part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, apples can actually fight many diseases and help keep you healthy and away from the doctor.
Evidence in support of health claim
Research has long proven that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce a variety of chronic conditions. But the results of more detailed research suggest that apples, in particular, may be particularly protective of good health. Apples, especially their skins, are excellent sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are believed to prevent cell and tissue damage and help protect the body from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. The flavonoids present in apples are believed to protect the body against allergies and viral infections.
Apple can also improve the function of lungs. During a research in Finland, researchers examined the association between apple use and stroke risk in 9,200 men and women. The results showed that those who consumed the most apples had a lower risk of stroke over a 28-year period than those who consumed the least apples. He suggested that this benefit may come from the phytonutrients contained in apples. The results of two other research from Finland revealed that the use of apples can also reduce the risk of heart disease and lung cancer.
Evidence against health claim
Many other foods have similar levels of antioxidants and provide the same benefits as apples. Coffee, black tea, blueberries, red grapes, strawberries and bananas are all rich in antioxidant flavonoids. It is worth noting that most of the nutritional benefits of apples come from their skin, so peeled apples, apple juice and apple sauce have lower levels of antioxidants than whole apples. Eating an apple every day is not likely to harm your health. But, consuming too many apples each day can contribute to adverse side-effects including digestive problems.