We’ve all heard it:
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, an expression cherished by grandmothers everywhere.
While we might think of the saying as one crafted by well-meaning grannies to get us to eat our fruits and veggies, there may be some truth to it.
Keep reading to find out why!
The benefits of eating an apple a day
Undoubtedly, eating fruits and vegetables is incredible for our health. It reduces the risk for various conditions that typically land us at the doctor’s office, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
So the question here is, what makes apples stand out from the rest?
Apples are a rich source of dietary phytochemicals such as flavonoids and phenolic acids 1,2. In fact, compared with other common fruits, apples had the second highest level of antioxidants and phenolic compounds, after cranberries1.
These compounds are remarkable because they’ve been shown to protect against cancer and reduce inflammation, making you your healthiest, most vibrant self.
On top of all this, apples are a significant source of dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals3,4.
Medical benefits of an apple a day
Due to the presence of these health-promoting compounds, eating an apple a day has a hugely positive effect, reducing your likelihood of being affected by diseases such as:
- Cancer1,2: Research has found regular apple intake to be consistently linked to lower incidences of certain cancers, even reducing the risk of colorectal cancer by more than 50 %.
- Chronic heart and vascular disorders2,4,5: This one isn’t limited to apples! Regular fruit and vegetable consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease thanks to their micronutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fibre.
- Diabetes2: The presence of oxygen radicals causes all kinds of chronic diseases. The antioxidants in apples help reduce oxidative stress, reducing your chances of contracting these illnesses.
- Obesity2,6,7: The polyphenols found in apples promote anti-obesity effects and have been shown to reduce weight gain.
We know what you’re thinking…
If all fruits and vegetables contain these magic phytochemicals, doesn’t that mean they should all have the same benefits?
While it is true that all fruits and veggies are valuable in their unique way, each one brings something different to the table.
That’s why it’s vital to nourish your body with a variety of whole, real plant foods every day!
Today’s Daily Action
Nourish yourself with some of those healthy compounds you’ve just read about! In other words, eat an apple today to keep the doctor away!
Gallus, S. et al. Does an apple a day keep the oncologist away? Annals of Oncology 16, 1841–1844 (2005).
Tu, S.-H., Chen, L.-C. & Ho, Y.-S. An apple a day to prevent cancer formation: Reducing cancer risk with flavonoids. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis 25, 119–124 (2017).
Hyun, T. K. & Jang, K.-I. Apple as a source of dietary phytonutrients: an update on the potential health benefits of apple. EXCLI Journal; 15:Doc565; ISSN 1611-2156 (2016) doi:10.17179/EXCLI2016-483.
Liu, S. et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: the Women’s Health Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72, 922–928 (2000).
Liddle, D. M. et al. Daily apple consumption reduces plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cell–secreted inflammatory biomarkers in adults with overweight and obesity: a 6-week randomized, controlled, parallel-arm trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 114, 752–763 (2021).
Asgary, S., Rastqar, A. & Keshvari, M. Weight Loss Associated With Consumption of Apples: A Review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 37, 627–639 (2018).
Barth, S. W. et al. Moderate effects of apple juice consumption on obesity-related markers in obese men: impact of diet–gene interaction on body fat content. Eur J Nutr 51, 841–850 (2012).