Why An Apple a Day is Wise
The recent story that an apple a day may not keep the doctor makes for good headlines, but I beg to differ.
There is more to this story than meets the casual eye. Granted, researchers who followed more than 8,000 people over a three-year period found those who ate an apple daily didn’t have significantly fewer doctor visits.
Yet, the study also had limitations, said one doctor, pointing out its information was self-reported and the number of doctor visits couldn’t be explicitly linked to munching on apples.
No Magic Pill
Until I read a couple stories on this study, I didn’t know that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” originated in the late 1800s, when going to the doctor was commonly associated with illness.
Like any old adage or folk wisdom, trusting an apple to provide a “magic pill” is quite foolish. One can’t expect a daily apple to counter the effects of such habits as smoking, overeating, and lack of exercise.
Yet, I have seen the powerful impact developing a daily apple habit—along with green tea—can make on one’s health and energy levels. That was particularly significant for me after coming through a period of lagging vitality during the years after heart surgery.
Change of Habit
I had already started drinking two cups of green tea a day after editing a book by a doctor who recommended it. Then, several months later, I edited Do This and Live Healthy by Dr. Don VerHulst.
VerHulst mentioned that he drinks six cups of green tea a day; I figured doubling my intake shouldn’t hurt. (I later verified this with my primary care doctor and cardiologist, who both assured me its caffeine levels were too low to be of concern.)
Soon after adjusting my green tea intake, I came across VerHulst’s comments about the “wonder fruit” that is an excellent source of fiber and combats intestinal infections, inflammation, and an overly acidic stomach.
It also helps the body detoxify, fights viral infections, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and stabilizes blood sugar.
“The only way to find out if that saying (an apple a day keeps the doctor away) is true it to start eating an apple a day today,” VerHulst says. “I personally believe two apples a day can keep the doctor away for twice as long.”
I decided to test out his hypothesis a few weeks before a 630-mile drive (each way) to Long Island for a Thanksgiving visit to my brother. Coming only three months after a trip to the hospital, I wondered if I would have the stamina for the trip.
However, by the time it came to leave, the results of my green tea-and-apple regimen were astonishing. I made the trip without needing my wife to spell me on either leg.
I was so amazed at how much more energetic I felt I am carrying on these habits three and a half years later.
No Blanket Recommendation
Naturally, there is no such thing as a blanket recommendation that applies to everyone.
I saw that when I mentioned my strong belief in an apple a day to a friend whose wife was enduring some health struggles, and he mentioned that her body couldn’t handle the sugar (albeit a healthier kind that high fructose corn syrup) in apples.
Still, if your body can assimilate this wonder fruit, and your physician doesn’t raise any cautions, try an apple daily. There are few habits that match it for healthy results.