A 2015 study used diet survey data for 8,000 adults in the US and compared the number of doctor’s visits, overnight hospital stays and prescription medicines, between apple-eaters and non-eaters. The study found that those who ate at least one apple per day (either whole, or as part of other foods) were slightly less likely to need a GP visit or medication.
Ultimately, focusing on any one food for its unique health benefits is the wrong approach. A healthy diet includes a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables.
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Per 100g, apples have more fibre than melons, mangoes or grapes, and twice as much vitamin A as pears. But apples have less folate than blueberries and less vitamin C than oranges or bananas.
Crucially, this difference disappeared once the researchers adjusted for socio-demographic and health-related characteristics. In other words, it is not that eating an apple a day means that you don’t get sick, rather, the study found that healthy people tend to eat more apples. This might be because the apple-eaters were also making other lifestyle choices with a more direct effect on their health.