An Apple A Day – Fact or Fiction?


1866 Advice

The original proverb about eating an apple a day was first recorded in 1866 and goes like this –

Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread. This not very catchy phrase was replaced with the more familiar –

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

 Twentieth Century Advice

How those ‘old wives’ knew that apples are good for us is unknown but in

2004 scientists found that apples contained a high amount of antioxidants that help to fight disease. A study showed that drinking apple juice may protect the brain from some of the effects of aging and may even prevent Alzheimer’s. The study on mice showed that those with an apple-enhanced diet had higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and performed better in problem solving tasks.

Researchers at Cornell University have identified triterpenoids in apple peel which have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. They suggest that eating apples could reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23%. Eating apples can also reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

Another study found that apples lower cholesterol that in turn could prevent coronary artery disease and gallstones. Red apples have been found to contain quercetin, an antioxidant that can boost the immune system and protect against infection.

Researchers at UCLA found that the pectin in apples doubled the time that the stomach emptied. Consequently, eating an apple will make you feel fuller for longer which may reduce appetite and cause weight loss.

A German researcher published a paper in 2008 that showed that people who eat an apple a day are at less risk of oral cancer, cancer of the voice box, breast cancer, and colon, kidney, and ovarian cancer.

Research from Cornell shows that women who eat apples may be less likely to get estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer, which is much harder to treat than the receptor-positive kind.

A large Dutch study has found that eating apples and pears is associated with a lower risk of stroke. Apples are filled with soluble fiber (that has been shown to reduce intestinal disorders, including diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and possibly some types of cancer.

To get the full health benefits it is important to eat the apple skin. Many of the nutrients such as vitamin C and A, are in the skin or just underneath it

So apples CAN keep the doctor away and what about the recommended dose?  Well one a day seems to be about right.

If only they could come up with a catchy phrase to encapsulate this message!


Lesley Lyle MAPP: Author, Writer, Positive Psychologist, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Associate lecturer, Laughter Facilitator Director Positive Psychology Learning. Follow her on Twitter & Facebook

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