An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away – but Why?

January 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


You remember that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ phrase, probably devised by the Apple Marketing Board, but have you ever wondered what the basis of it is? Danish microbiologists think they have the answer as after feeding rates on a diet rich in whole apples, juice, or purée they found that this diet increased the amount of ‘friendly’ bacteria in the gut.

Certain bacteria are good not just for our digestive health but may also influence our risk for cancer. It is apparently the pectin, part of the dietary fibre found in apples that produces an increase in the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut and apples also produce a chemical called butyrate,. an important fuel for the cells of the intestinal wall.

The part to bear in mind is the ‘a day’ part of the phrase as you need to eat apples regularly and over a prolonged period of time but as apples are adult’s favourite fruit then that shouldn’t be too much of a hardship. What about apple and mango puree with your breakfast?

An apple a day keeps old age at bay


I know the original saying is that it keeps the doctor away, but there is new evidence that the cognitive decline we associate with growing older can be delayed with the help of apple juice.

The Center for Cellular Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts have been studying laboratory mice and found that using the standard maze trials the mice performed better than was normal after drinking apple juice. Our ability to carry out mental tasks like working out how to negotiate a maze does decline with age as our cognitive ability is lessened. The mice got the human equivalent of 2 glasses of apple juice a day for 1 month and it was found that they were producing less beta-amyloid. This is a small protein fragment that is responsible for forming the “senile plaques” that are commonly found in the brain of those suffering from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The lead researcher suggested that if everyone was to drink two glasses of apple juice a day they would lessen their risk of cognitive decay and help keep their mind functioning at their best. For the most effective juice, buy organic or juice your own – the taste difference is really amazing.