Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away?

By Linda Quinn, MS, RDN

We are all familiar with the old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Two new research studies suggest we should update that to, “an apple a day is the healthy way”!

Today it’s all about staying healthy and avoiding chronic disease. Two large studies are now contributing to the mounting evidence that daily apple eating may actually decrease obesity as well as prescription medication use.Apples2

One of the studies literally looked at whether an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and found some important results; that study was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in May 2015. Of the 8,728 people surveyed, daily apple eaters actually were less likely to require prescription medication. Although the actual number of doctors’ visits among apple eaters and non-apple eaters were the same, the benefits of eating apples go beyond the waiting room. The researchers noted that eating apples could, in fact, reduce health care costs. They even went so far as to estimate that if all Americans were apple eaters, we could reduce national prescription drug costs by $47.2 billion annually!

How might eating apples reduce prescription drug use? Medications are often prescribed to treat obesity-related chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, such as nutrient-dense apples, can help us to maintain a healthy weight and avoid diet-related chronic disease.

The second study found significant health benefits among children who eat apples. Analyzing federal data on 13,000 children, researchers reported in the Nutrition Journal in May 2015 that regular apple eaters were more likely to be lean, had better diet quality and were less likely to be at risk for obesity. These findings are particularly notable in a country where more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2012.

Taking these two studies together helps us to see that apple eaters may bolster their health in important ways, and avoid the expense and pain of chronic diseases.

Bottom line,visit your physician regularly for wellness checks and preventive treatment and eat apples for healthier weight,disease risk reduction, and to bolster your health for a lifetime.

“An apple a day is the healthy way!”

For full details on the mentioned studies, visit:
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4420713/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4443546/
www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm