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An Apple a Day: Does It Really Keep the Doctor Away?

Many of us have heard the familiar saying since we were young —“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” You may have thought of it as a simple bit of encouragement to eat your fruits or vegetables, or you may have actively believed in it as a health and wellness tip. But what is the origin of this quaint little quote, and does it actually work? If not, what are some “apple a day” techniques you can use to prevent illnesses?

The Origin of the Phrase

This common phrase apparently comes to us from the Welsh in the mid-19th century. In its original form, it was commonly stated as “Eat an apple on going to bed, you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” The origin of the phrase apparently stems from a popular home remedy of the time. Many during this period believed that consuming large quantities of caraway was good for health. Inserting the caraway into an apple was a way to mask the seed’s powerful taste.

Is it True?

Given its prevalence, it’s not surprising that this common saying actually has been put to the test. One study run in 2011 found that apples (along with pears) may play a role in stroke prevention. Likewise, a study done the next year found that consuming apples on a regular basis could lower bad (LDL) cholesterol in some adults. Whatever the case, it is safe to say that consuming apples likely correlates with eating more fruits and vegetables in general— a healthy choice for any individual.

Alternative to an Apple a Day

What are some other preventative measures that might improve your health and prevent illness? Turns out the apple can enhance your quality of life and keep your doctor happy, if not necessarily “away.”

Eat… Apple Skin?

It turns out that the skin of the apple just may be the healthiest part of the fruit. In a study done at Cornell University, researchers discovered that the phytochemicals in apple skins are the source of most of the fruit’s beneficial properties, including antioxidant and anticancer elements. In fact, cancer cells treated with extract sourced from apple skins had double the effect of extract sourced from the meat of the fruit. A healthy dose of apple skin, anyone?

Pair Your Apple with Protein

Apples work well as a complementary food to other healthy choices. Experts recommend setting up your apple with almond or peanut butter for an added nutritional boost. Apples also go well with low fat dairy options such as cottage cheese or yogurt.

Curb Your Appetite with an Apple

Like many fruits, an apple is chock full of water. Eating an apple can be a healthy way to fill up and feel satiated without loading up on the calories. Next time you feel a snack craving coming on, try reaching for an apple to curb your appetite instead of chips or candy. You might be surprised how much it fills you up!

Want to learn more about ways to stay healthy? Check out the CareSpot blog for tips to keep you and your family healthy throughout the year.