Everyone seems to know this one cardinal “rule of health”: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. And recently, I’ve found myself repeating the mantra as if it was something out of a holy text. To my dismay, a roommate asked, “Is that even true? Why are apples so healthy?”
I found myself stumbling on showing the readily-accepted specialness of the apple.
In an attempt to reconcile my efforts, let’s take a look at just why the apple is supposed to keep the doctor away – or, alternatively, if the mantra is more of a clever rhyme than serious statement of fact.
An Apple Will Keep the Doctor Away
Apples carry a ton of benefits, no doubt. Because of their variety, they come with different levels of nutrients and, in effect, benefits, but let’s try to canvass some of the big ones here:
Perhaps apples’ best benefit is pectin: a form of soluble fiber that’s helps lower cholesterol that promotes heart healthy living and helps lower blood pressure and glucose levels. The fiber helps promote a healthy digestive tract, too – reducing “transit time” and making it easy for you to pass waste.
Apples are also a great source of vitamin C. As we all know, vitamins are crucial to living healthy. They help the body turn food into energy, as well as help body build tissue. Vitamin C, although controversial on the topic, is also thought to provide special protection against cold symptoms, but only when taking megadoses.
Boron, Quercetin, and other Phytonutrients
Finally, apples contain other various nutritional benefits. Boron supports the development of strong bones and a healthy brain, quercetin, which neutralizes free radical damages, helps protect against cancers, and other phyonutrients like vitamin E and A help protect and build the body.
An Apple Will Not Keep the Doctor Away
Although there are some serious health benefits to apples, you have to be cautious, namely because of growing methods.
First, today’s apples can contain up to 42 pesticide residues found by the USDA: 7 carcinogens, 19 suspected hormone disruptors, 10 neurotoxins, and 6 development or reproductive toxins. The carcinogen Thiabendazole, for example, appears a stunning 87.9 percent of the time on store bought apples. (Read the full profile on What’s On my Food?).
In addition to that, ever-present genetically engineered apples lose many of their nutrients. When compared, an organic apple had 27 percent more vitamin C, 29 percent more magnesium, 21 percent more iron, and 14 percent more phosphorus than a engineered apple.
The Jury is In
Truth is, both of above arguments are right in some respect. And when it comes down to it, you’ll want a more varied and diverse diet if you’re hoping to keep the doctor away. Apples are great, but they’ve got to be organic and combined with a diet that also contains high amounts of other healthy foods like vegetables, grains, and proteins.
While that is so, eating an apple a day definitely wouldn’t hurt!