Does an Apple a Day Really Keep the Doctor Away?

By Staci O’Connor MS, RD, CDN

After a hot summer, some are happy that the fall season is finally upon us. Not only is the cooler weather on its way but fall is full of fun activities for both kids and adults including apple picking. Apple picking is a great way to not only get some exercise in but is also a great way to show your children or grandchildren how apples grow and what they taste like directly from the tree. With your freshly picked apples, try to make some homemade applesauce or even try recipes where you sauté apples with purple cabbage for a delicious side dish, try baking a few apples for a low-calorie dessert or even consider adding chopped apples to your morning oatmeal.  Apples are known for their fiber content. The majority of the fiber in an apple is soluble, which has cholesterol-lowering benefits while a smaller portion of fiber which is found in the skin is insoluble and responsible for moving food more quickly through the digestive tract preventing constipation. Apples are also a good source of vitamin C and are rich in an antioxidant quercetin which may help reduce the risk of gout and certain cancers. Eating raw apples may also help reduce garlic breath by decreasing the concentration of volatiles in breath by 50 percent or more.  Apple juice does reduce the levels of volatiles, but not as effectively as chewing a raw apple.  A study published in the Journal of Food Science suggested that eating apples may have benefits for your neurological health and may protect neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity and may play an important role in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. There is also growing evidence suggesting that an apple a day may help prevent breast cancer.  So the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” really does have some basis in truth!

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