The saying of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has been around since the 1800s. (It actually originated as “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread” in Great Britain.)
But is it actually true?
Apples do have health benefits, coming loaded with antioxidants, dietary fiber (about five grams per apple) and flavonoids (plant chemicals that act as antioxidants with immune system and anti-inflammatory benefits).
According to Medical News Today, “the phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.”
Generally, the fruit checks in at 80 calories with no fat or cholesterol. On the negative side, they have no protein and 16-19 grams of sugar.
In 2005, Canadian researchers found that Red Delicious apples had the most antioxidants in their skin while Northern Spy had the most in its flesh.
Incidentally, the Red Delicious just fell from the top production spot for the first time in half a century, according to the U.S. Apple Association. The top apples for 2018 are expected to be Gala, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp, by the way.
A 2015 study titled “Association between apple consumption and physician visits” studied whether daily apple eaters were more likely to avoid trips to the doctor than non-daily apple eaters.
The conclusion of the researchers: “Evidence does not support that an apple a day keeps the doctor away; however, the small fraction of U.S. adults who eat an apple a day do appear to use fewer prescription medications.”
In other words, there are some health benefits from eating an apple, but probably not enough to help you avoid a trip to the doctor’s office.