We’ve all heard it: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. In case you wondered, it dates back to 1913. But in today's world and with our advanced knowledge of health and nutrition, does it still hold its credit? Let’s find out.
Health benefits of apples
Apples are a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Having a combination of both in our daily diets helps with our bowel movements to remove waste along with toxins from our bodies, and also helps to reduce our glycemic load, which can lower spikes in our blood sugar and prevent overeating. Apples contain a source of soluble fibre called pectin. Pectin can help prevent the buildup of cholesterol in the lining of blood vessels, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Abundant in phytonutrients
Phytonutrients have powerful antioxidant capacity: this helps our bodies fight free radicals, thus reducing our chances of cellular diseases, including cancer. In apples, there are over a dozen variations of phytonutrients, from flavanols such as catechins and kaempferol, to galactoside to phloretin, and they each serve a specific function for our bodies. Phytonutrients can also improve our digestive system by promoting the production of good bacteria, for better breakdown of the food we eat. Apparently, eating the skin and the pulp of one whole apple multiplies the benefits of eating apples up to 3-4 times more than just eating it without the skin! This is because the concentration of flavonoids is higher in the skin than in the pulp.
Great source of vitamin C
Apples are also a great source of vitamin C; vitamin C is not only good for fighting free radicals due to its antioxidant ability, but it is also great for our immune system which helps us fight flus and common colds just that bit much better. It also helps to brighten our skin! So if you fancy a change from oranges or tablets, you have another option.
Apples are a great snack
In our modern-day diet, there is so much more variety than there used to be. With greater nutritional insight and expertise, many of us seek to reap the health benefits of trendy superfoods like kale or avocados, rather than apples. However, we can always try to incorporate more apples in our daily diets for variety if we don’t already do so: their nutritional value holds true, and they are a great snack substitute (easily replacing biscuits or muffins!). With a spoonful of peanut butter on the side, you have a source of healthy fats that sustain you for longer.
Keeping the doctor away...
Experts have actually tried to investigate the validity of the old saying of whether eating apples every day really do keep the doctor away. A US study was carried out specifically to find out if there is any concrete evidence behind the famous claim. They carried out a study on a sample size of nearly 8,400 individuals, of which 753 ate an apple every day and recorded if they made visits to doctors at all.
The short answer as to whether you will stay away from doctors if you eat apples every day, is NO. However, the studies did show that those who eat apples on a regular basis, do seem to have less frequent visits to clinics. It implies that at least more generally speaking, regular apple munching does actually contribute to making us healthier in general.
Now if you’re really not into apples, there are many alternatives considered ‘superfood grade’ which you can try to incorporate into your diet on a regular basis. But if you do decide to give apples a better shot, keep in mind that they’re most nutritious when eaten as a whole fruit with the skin, rather than juiced or peeled. This is so that all the fibre and phytonutrients can be consumed, giving you 100% of their great benefits.
We hope you learnt more about apples and the myth around them! Sign-up to our newsletter for more tips about health and nutrition in Hong Kong!
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.