Does an Apple a Day Really Keep the Doctor Away?

By Michelle Donovan, MS, RD, LDN, ACSM-CPT

Apples are a crisp, sweet treat that can be consumed anytime of day. There are 7,500 varieties of apples in the world and about 2,500 of those are grown in the United States. Commercially, we only grow about 100 different types. The Fall is a great time of year to discover apples at your local farm stand, orchard or grocery store.

But what about their health benefits? We have all heard it said that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  Is there any truth to that? If so, why are apples so good for us?

Healthy Nutrients

The average sized, medium 3” apple has about 95 calories which makes it a good snack. It has about 4.5 grams of fiber and 195 milligrams of potassium. Apples actually have about 8.5 milligrams which is not enough for the day, but helps as part of a varied diet. They are very low in sodium.

Disease Prevention

Apples contain the phytochemicals (plant chemicals) quercetin, catechin, phlorizin and chlorogenic acid, which have been associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases.

Apples have been shown in several studies to be associated with a reduced risk of cancer, especially lung cancer, and heart disease risk. Not only that, but they are good for your lungs in general.  Studies have shown that those who eat more apples have better pulmonary health and less asthma.  And in a Finnish study, they found that eating apples was also associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Weight Loss

A study done in Brazil looked at apple and pear consumption and found that consuming them was helpful with weight loss in middle aged overweight women.

Eat the Whole Thing

As you hit your local Fall festivals and have apples, remember that eating the whole apple is important, including the peel. Some research has shown that we only get 10% of the antioxidant activity from apples after they are pressed into juice.  Apples are just part of a healthy diet that should include lots of fruits and vegetables, but we are lucky because locally we have access to great orchards.

Get Your Apples

If you’re local to Bodymetrix, a few orchards close by are Frecon Farms in Boyertown, Barnard’s Orchard in Kennett Square, Highland Orchards in West Chester, Tabora Farm and Orchard in Hilltown, just to name a few. Apples are usually in season between July and October. So go out, pick some apples and enjoy your Fall!

And as a bonus, be sure to check out THIS RECIPE for a delicious apple crisp!

Michelle Donovan, MS, RD, LDN, ACSM-CPT
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