An apple a day keeps the doctor away – The history and the truth of the quote!
We keep saying specific quotes and phrases, hear them at times, or pass them off as real-time advice without ascertaining their truth. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is one such statement. Most of us have heard this from our parents who said it with a sound intention of making us eat some fruits so that we can be healthy. If we ate an apple, we don’t have to visit a doctor — a simple equation.
So where did this famous and often overused quote come from which influenced so many toddlers to eat some fruits? Let’s go into a bit of history.
It is believed that the phrase was created in 1913 based on a rhyme from Wales which existed 149 years ago. The verse was “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread,” which could be heard in Pembrokeshire, a county in Wales.
Interestingly, the advice to eat an apple every day was first used and printed in 1866.
However, a study has been conducted to find out whether the proverb holds true or not. Matthew Davis, a Ph.D. student, along with other colleagues from The University of Michigan School of Nursing, conducted a test by evaluating two teams, one who ate apples and the other who didn’t. The criteria to test the success of the quote was one visit to the doctor a year.
It was found out that there was no empirical evidence which showed that the ones who ate apples every day visited the doctor less than the ones who didn’t. One apple per day would only count if the participants consumed 149 grams of raw apple. Apple juice, or less than the prescribed amount, were ruled out from the analysis. Also, the research tried to analyze responses by increasing the amount of apple intake comparing the number of doctor visits by the people who didn’t eat apples with the ones who ate one small, medium, or large apple every day.
The final result was that there was no correlation between the number of apples eaten with one keeping good health and keeping the doctor away as the proverb goes.
Healthcare is more than just eating some apples, although the fruit in itself is not harmful at all. There are various factors which contribute to good health such as sleep patterns, food habits, working hours, etc. which play a pivotal role.
Sure, use the quote with a noble and good intention, but let’s also realize the fact that one apple per day is not a foolproof remedy to maintain one’s health and ignore the health checkups when required.