Could eating an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Doctors from the University of Michigan set out to answer this question by surveying a group of people 18 years and older. Daily apple eaters were compared to non-apple eaters. Plenty of scientific evidence already suggests that eating fruits and vegetables are vital for a healthy life, but it seems apples, specifically, could throw a more powerful punch against disease.
While there was not substantial evidence to tip the scale either way, it was discovered that those who consume apples on a regular basis reported less pharmaceutical use.
Doctors created a questionnaire to discover if eating an apple a day really made a significant impact on overall health. Of the 8,399 participants, 9% reported eating apples regularly, while 91% did not. The survey questioned participants about frequency of doctor's visits in the past year, only considering one self-reported visit. The survey also considered other potential lifestyle factors that can influence health, and revealed that apple eaters were less likely to smoke and had attained a higher level of education.
The survey produced the following results: 39% of apple eaters reported no need for trips to the doctor, while non-apple eaters came in at 33.9%. As small as such a difference seems, it grows in significance after considering that apple eaters seemed less likely to require a prescription medication after said visits. Therefore, there is not enough evidence to definitively say that eating an apple every day will keep the doctor away, but it seems like it can make passing ailments less severe or disruptive.
In conclusion, the study analyzed by doctors found that although apples are highly nutritious and an excellent daily snack choice, they aren't likely to result in less visits to the doctor - the difference is minor enough to be accounted for general healthy lifestyle choices. It is likely simply that eating an apple a day, alongside other fruits and vegetables, is a guideline best kept by the generally health-conscious.
It's undeniable, then, that a proper diet, avoiding cigarette smoke, and keeping active are all positive influences for disease prevention.