True or False: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
While the health benefits of fruit are widely known and accepted, can an apple each day truly keep the doctor away? Is there something about the “forbidden fruit”—above and beyond other types of fruit and healthful foods—that is ideal for lowering your risk of poor health?
As part of a healthful diet and lifestyle, apples really can fight a number of diseases and help keep you healthy and away from the doctor.
Evidence for the Health Claim
Studies have long shown that diets rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of numerous chronic conditions. But more detailed studies show that apples, in particular, may be particularly protective of good health.
Apples, particularly their skins, are an excellent source of
In a study conducted in Finland, researchers investigated the relationship between apple consumption and the risk of
Evidence Against the Health Claim
There are many other foods—including other fruits—that contain the same
Of note, most of the nutritional benefit of apples appears to come from their skin, so peeled apples, apple juice, and applesauce lack the rich levels of antioxidants that the whole fruit contains.
Apples alone can't keep anyone healthy, as no single food can, and apples can't be expected to reverse previous damage caused by poor diet and lifestyle. Diets rich in trans fats, salt, and sugar—even with an apple a day—don't lead to good health. Regular apple consumption, of course, is only beneficial as part of an
Apples are a great choice for a healthful, low-fat, low-calorie snack. They're rich in fiber and antioxidants, both of which may be protective against a variety of chronic diseases. To receive the maximum health benefits from apples, eating the whole fruit—including the skin—is recommended.
But remember, apples are no substitute for a balanced diet and regular exercise. And, even this is no guarantee. People who live impeccable lifestyles still suffer from heart disease and cancer, and keeping your doctor completely away makes it difficult to receive preventive services, like screening tests. Seeing your doctor regularly (but not too often) will allow him to possibly uncover conditions that can harm you in the future, even if you feel perfectly well while munching on that Red Delicious.
Amodio A. Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Families.com website. Available at: http://health.families.com/blog/does-an-apple-a-day-really-keep-the-doctor-away . Accessed November 5, 2008.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away (press release). Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.jhu.edu/hurj/issue2/07E%20Apple%20A%20Day.pdf . Accessed August 8, 2006.
Apple juice may keep Alzheimer's away. MedIndia website. Available at: http://www.medindia.net/news/view_news_main.asp?x=12962 . Published August 2006. Accessed November 5, 2008.
The awesome apple: why an apple a day helps keep the doctor away. Medical News Service website. Available at: http://www.medicalnewsservice.com/ARCHIVE/MNS1700.cfm . Published May 2003. Accessed November 5, 2008.
Boyles Salynn. An apple a day may really keep the doctor away. WebMD website. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/content/article/26/1728_58624.htm . Published June 2000. Accessed August 8, 2006.
Butland B, Fehily A, Elwood P. Diet, lung function, and lung function decline in a cohort of 2512 middle aged men. Thorax. 2000;55:102-108.
A (good) apple a day keeps the doctor away. CBC News website. Available at: http://www.cbc.ca/story/news/national/2002/06/05/Consumers/apples_020605.html . Accessed August 8, 2006
Herforth AW. An apple a day. Friedman School of Nutritional Science and Policy website. Available at http://nutrition.tufts.edu/consumer/balance/2003-10/functional.html . Accessed August 8, 2006.
How an apple a day keeps the doctor away revealed! AllRefer Health News website. Available at: http://health.allrefer.com/news/index.php?ID=8796 . Accessed August 8, 2006.
Knekt P, Isotupa S, Rissanen H, et al. Quercetin intake and the incidence of cerebrovascular disease. Eur J Clin Nutr . 2000;54: 415-417.
Knekt P, Jarvinen R, Reunanen A, et al. Flavonoid intake and coronary mortality in Finland: a cohort study. Br Med J . 1996;312:478-81.
Knekt P, Jarvinen R, Seppanen R, et al. Dietary flavonoids and the risk of lung cancer and other malignant neoplasms. Am J Epidemiol. 1997;146:223-30.
This apple a day keeps the doctor further away. New Scientist News website. Available at: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18625024.400.html . Accessed August 8, 2006.
Why an apple a day keeps the doctor away. CityNews website. Available at http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_547.aspx . Published May 2006. Accessed November 5, 2008.
Image Credit: Nucleus Communications, Inc.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.