We’ve all heard the saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ which of course is all very nice, it even rhymes. But with all the fun a capers of rhyming saying, do we actually know how good apples are for us?
I’m my quest for randomness this question cropped up so I’ve done some research. The short answer is that they are supprisingly very good for you, much like bananas, but thats a different story.
Here are some little know facts about the health benifits of apples:

  • High in fiber:
    Yes there is as much fiber in a single apple as there is in a bowl of fiber cereal, admittedly I don’t know how big that bowl is but it still sounds good. (The type of fiber is insoluble pectin, for those that care)
  • Phytochemical:
    What the flip is that I hear you ask? Well the easiest way to get this across is to say, ‘anti-cancer baby yeah!’. Apparently its all in the skin, and 100 grams of apple skin (I have no idea how many actual apples that is) gives you the same anti-cancer and anti-oxidant activity of 1500 milligrams of vitamin C ! (thats 20 times the RDA… more on that later though).
  • Complex Carbohydrates:
    I’m not talking complex as in head scratching, I’m talking complex as in your body actually has to do a bit of digestion to get at the sugars… which is a good thing, it means slow release of energy and feeling fuller for longer.
  • Potassium:
    An average, medium apple has 158mg of potassium, this is good for fluid and electrolyte balance in cells, muscle contractions and sending nerve impulses. It also stabalises blood pressure and prevents excessive fluid retention. Potassium generally improves physical performance, infact potassium sounds great! The RDA for potassium is 3.5 grams so and apple isn’t helping all that much, this is where bananas help out once again

Apples also have no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol.

Most of these health benifits seem to held in the skin of apples, so all you out there that peel your apples… well you’re not doing yourself any favours!
I said I’d come back to the vitamin C thing and here’s why, the RDA of vitamin C is 50-75mg per day, taking daily doses of over 500mg have been attributed to anti-oxidant damage or DNA mutations. It sounds like overdosing on vitamin C is really not something you want to be doing!
However it seems that overdosing on nutrients is only dangerous when that overdose is relative to other nutrients that interact with vitamin C (or whichever nutrient you’re worrying about).
Also the ‘an apple a day’ health routine holds true as an average apple weighs 160 grams and only about 2% of that is skin, so you’d have to eat over two hundred apples to get the rather excessive amount of vitamin C mentioned earlier.

Sources for this article:
An apple a day
Vitamin C: Requirements
Washington Apple nutrition