Does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away? 

benefits of apples

December 1st is “Eat a Red Apple Day” so let’s take a look at the benefits of apples

What makes apples so important that they get a holiday? There must be some pretty impressive health benefits to them—as they say, “an apple a day keeps the doctors away.” To celebrate “Eat a Red Apple Day,” our team at Hospitality Health ER wanted to provide an overview of apples, their benefits, and even the origin story of the rhyme.. 

What are the health benefits of apples? 

  • Nutrition:

A medium-sized apple (around 3 inch diameter) equals about 1.5 cups of fruit and contains a healthy array of vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and fiber. 

  • Heart Benefits:

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that apples have been linked to lower heart disease. The reason for this is their abundance of soluble fiber, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels. 

  • Good Gut Bacteria: 

Apples also contain a type of fiber known as pectin, which is a prebiotic. Because pectin is a fiber, it doesn’t get digested by our bodies; instead it goes straight to our colon. From there, it can promote the growth of good bacteria in our guts. 

  • Weight Loss: 

Apples are filling due to their high amount of water and fiber. In a study, researchers found that in a 10-week study in 50 overweight women, participants who ate apples lost an average of 2 pounds (1 kg) and ate fewer calories overall, compared to those who ate oat cookies with a similar calorie and fiber content.

  • Lower the Risk of Diabetes:

Apples contain a polyphenol antioxidant that is linked to lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to a study published in Advances in Nutrition, eating an apple a day was linked to a 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, compared to not eating any apples. Even eating just a few apples per week had a similarly protective effect. 

In addition to these 5 health benefits, research has also linked apples to fighting asthma and supporting bone and brain health..

Top 8 Varieties of Apples: Type, History, and Taste

benefits of apples

Type History Taste
Cripps Pink / Pink Lady Developed in Western Australia. Sweet-tart flavor
Empire Premiered in 1966 in the Empire State of New York. Sweet-tart flavor 
Fuji Developed in Japan in the late 1930s and named after the famous Mt. Fuji. U.S.-grown Fujis began appearing in markets in the 1980s. Sweet flavor
Gala Originated in New Zealand, The Royal Gala strain was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, who deemed it her favorite during a visit to New Zealand.  Crisp, juicy, sweet flavor
Golden Delicious Discovered as a chance seedling growing on the Mullins’ family farm in Clay County, West Virginia in the early 1900s. Mild, sweet flavor
Granny Smith An Australian native, Granny Smith was discovered in 1868 as a chance seedling by “Granny” Anne Smith of Ryde, New South Wales.  Tart flavor
Honeycrisp Developed by the University of Minnesota through apple cross-breeding in 1960. Honeyed, mile flavor
McIntosh Discovered as a chance seedling by John McIntosh in 1811.  Juicy, tangy, tart flavor
Red Delicious The most widely recognized of all U.S. apple varieties, Red Delicious originated in Iowa in the 1870s.  Mild, sweet flavor


Where did the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” come from? 

The earliest recorded use of the  sentiment dates back to 1866, when Notes and Queries magazine published a Pembrokeshire proverb: 

“Eat an apple on going to bed, And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” 

benefits of applesThe version of the rhyme we’re all more familiar with was first said by professor J. T. Stinson, a notable fruit specialist and the first director of the Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station. Stinson said the phrase in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair to promote apples as a healthy snack. 

“Eat a Red Apple Day” is December 1st! 

Take part in “Eat a Red Apple Day” by, well, eating a red apple! It doesn’t hurt to encourage those around you—whether your kiddos, friends, or neighbors—to incorporate more apples into their day-to-day. The proof is in the pudding—or in this case, apple pie! 

For more health-related topics, tips, and recipes, make sure to follow along with our Hospitality Health ER blog. We’ve recently covered “4 Health Benefits of Cranberries” and “Health Benefits of Drinking Tea.” For giveaways, updates, and COVID-19 tips, like us on Facebook and Instagram