Does an Apple a Day Really Keep the Doctor Away?

You’ve heard the phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but have you ever wondered where this adage originated? Pembrokeshire, Wales is the birthplace of this common saying.  The first recorded use in the 1860s was written as “eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” The phrase then evolved to “an apple a day, no doctor to pay” in the 19th century. The phrasing that we use today was first recorded in 1922. While the adage has evolved throughout the years, the meaning behind it has remained the same; fruits and veggies are important for your overall health and wellbeing.  

We spoke to the Health Initiatives (HI) dietitians to learn if this old adage is really true. HI dietitians Amber Johnson and Leah Galante, said, “5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables is the recommended daily amount.” Johnson encouraged students, “explore new fruits and vegetables, recipes, cooking methods, and determine what works best for their taste, schedule and budget.” It is important to incorporate different types produce into your diet, as they “contain necessary vitamins and minerals that help strengthen your immune system and prevent chronic disease. They also contain necessary water and fiber, which help you stay full and engaged.” Fruits and veggies could help prevent drowsiness in your 8 am classes and keep you energized during the late afternoon classes.

You do not “have to up end your lifestyle to include more fruits and veggies. It can be as simple as having a banana on the way to class in the morning, or snacking on carrots and hummus while studying”, Galante added.  If those options do not work for you, try some Greek yogurt with fresh fruit or a smoothie with produce and protein. Trail mix or dried fruit are easy snacks for students to grab on the go.

There is some truth to the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but it does not have to be taken at face value, as any variety of fruits and veggies will do the trick. Incorporating more produce into your diet can help you feel more energized, engaged and ready to take on whatever the day may bring. So next time you grab a snack, choose some fruit or veggies. Your body and mind will thank you. If you would like to find more information about healthy eating, visit healthinitiatives.gatech.edu/nutrition.

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