You’ve probably heard many people say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But is it true? Do apples ward off doctors the way garlic wards off vampires?

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is an old English proverb (wise saying) that basically means that eating nutritious food will make you healthier. As a result, you won’t need to go to the doctor very often.

The phrase can be traced back to 1866, when Notes and Queries magazine published the first-known example of the proverb: “Eat an apple on going to bed, And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”

By the turn of the 20th century, several variations of the rhyme circulated around England, including the now-popular “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

So what was it about apples that the English thought was so healthy? As it turns out, the English of that time used the word “apple” to describe any round fruit that grew on a tree.

Essentially, they believed that eating fruit daily promoted good health. But is there any truth to it?

In fact, there is. Eating nutritious food keeps you healthy. If you’re looking for a nutritious food, apples are a good place to start. Research over the past few decades has shown that apples are indeed a very healthy snack.

Low in calories and sodium and having no fat and cholesterol, apples are sweet to eat and boast a wide variety of health benefits. Apples are good sources of vitamin A, which strengthens vision and bone development, and vitamin C, which boosts the immune system.

Studies have also shown that apples can help to reduce high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as lower the risk of cancer. Quercetin, a reddish pigment considered an antioxidant and found in apples, might protect against Alzheimer’s disease and provide relief from allergies.

If you enjoy biting into a ripe, juicy apple, your teeth may thank you, too. Dentists believe eating apples reduces tooth decay by cleaning the teeth and killing bacteria.

And make sure you eat the apple peel, too. Recent studies have shown that the peel of an apple contains significant amounts of health-boosting antioxidants.

These antioxidants are like natural disease fighters that also help to reduce inflammation. The studies showed that the antioxidants in apples could help to reduce asthma in adults and children.

Apples aren’t the only nutritious foods, though. Research over the past several years has revealed a growing list of “super foods” that are particularly nutritious.

If you want to eat healthy, try to include more of these “super foods” in your diet:

  • blueberries
  • broccoli
  • oats
  • oranges
  • salmon
  • spinach
  • turkey
  • yogurt


66 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (33 votes, avg. 3.91 out of 5)
  1. Dear Wonderopolis
    I think that was talented, because the little
    baby eats an apple super fast for a baby!!!
    That was very skilled for a humongous apple!!!
    We wish we could eat that fast like that baby
    so we won’t be super duper hungry. That was
    very awesome and cool! I predict tomorrow
    will be about the world’s olympics.
    Thank you for the video, wonderopolis!!!!!!!!!
    Apple, doctor, eating, exercise, food, habit,
    health, nutrition and super!!!!!!!!

  2. If you eat an apple a day it will keep you healthy.

    You stay healthy because the apple is a fruit, and fruits are good for you.

    Apples won’t give you cavities.

    An apple is good for your body so you won’t get sick.

    An apple keeps you strong.

    • Thank you for sharing all the great things you learned today by exploring Wonder of the Day® #367, 2nd Graders! We love to eat apples! Do you? What are your favorite kinds of fruit? :-)

  3. The video was very interesting. We like that apples are healthy for us and the baby was cute. We didn’t know that babies can eat apples by themselves- that baby was really good at it.

    We made connections to eating healthy. If a person with asthma eats an apple, they will be healthier. We didn’t know that the term “apple” in the old saying was really any round fruit that grew from a tree. How interesting! Thanks for the great wonder. Don’t forget to eat an apple today! :)

    • We won’t, Kerrick Elementary School! We have already eaten a Granny Smith apple today! We love eating healthy snacks, and we know you do, too! :-)

  4. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Once again, we learned a lot from your article. We took a poll in our class to see who liked the different super foods. Most of us like yogurt, oranges, turkey, and oatmeal. Many of us do not like salmon. Mrs. Johnson is going to bring in some spinach because some of us don’t know what fresh spinach tastes like.

    Jake wants to know why apples aren’t called “red” when an orange is called “orange.” Do you know?

    Mrs. Johnson’s third grade

    • WOW, Mrs. Johnson’s third grade! You guys are AWESOME for exploring the super foods you learned about in today’s Wonder! Let us know how you like the fresh spinach…it is really healthy for you!

      Also, please tell Jake that other Wonder Friends have also been WONDERing about the names of colorful fruits! Be sure to keep visiting Wonderopolis in the upcoming months and be on the lookout for a Wonder that might just answer his question! :-)

  5. This article was really interesting. I’m wondering if a human could live on apples and water alone.
    I’m also wondering how many apples grow on an average apple tree.
    Finally, I’m wondering what makes some apples red.

    • Those are GREAT questions, Cora and Mrs. Lewis’ third grade! We’re glad that exploring today’s Wonder of the Day® made you WONDER even more about apples! Thank you for leaving us this comment and for giving us awesome ideas for future Wonders of the Day! :-)

    • That is AWESOME to hear, Elango! Be sure to check back next Wednesday for another HAPPY HEALTHY HABITS Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We’re glad you had fun visiting today’s Wonder of the Day®, Mrs. Martin – Bowman Primary! Thank you so much for letting us know by leaving us this super comment! :-)

  6. Hi Wonderopolis! This is Meredith. Since I’m not in Mrs. C’s class, anymore, I just said Meredith. I thought it was very interesting that people from the 1800’s used a variation of that phrase. I think that tomorrow’s Wonder is about the Guinness Book of World Records. :)

    • Hi, Meredith! It’s so GREAT to hear from you! We hope you are enjoying 6th grade! Thank you for sharing what you think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about. You are pretty smart about using the clues at the end of each Wonder…be sure to check back tomorrow to see if you were RIGHT! :-)

  7. Yesterday was your birthday, is that right?
    So I will say a song.
    Wonderopolis it’s your birthday, it’s your birthday come on join the fun. Wonderopolis, do you have a questions for me? I am seven years old . I live in Ohio. I am a brownie.
    How was Wonderopolis started? Are you going to write a Halloween question for Wonderopolis?

    • Thank you so much for the great song, Allison! Yes, Wonderopolis turned 1 year old yesterday! That’s pretty neat, isn’t it? We started with our first Wonder of the Day® about flamingos, and now we have over 365 different Wonders to explore!

      We like learning about our Wonder Friends, so thank you for sharing a little about yourself! Oh, and YES, we will have some Halloween Wonders coming up…check back every day to see when we’ll surprise you with one! :-)

    • Hi, Angel! Horses LOVE apples and carrots! You can visit horses at a local farm or petting zoo. Make sure your parents or other grown-ups are with you when you feed the horses. Horses are big creatures and we want you to stay safe! :-)

    • Hi there, hockey2399! As you know, Wonderopolis is an awesome place where lots of different people come to learn, share, play and grow! If we give away all of our behind-the-scenes secrets, it will take the WONDER out of Wonderopolis for a lot of our friends! Thank you for leaving us this comment today! :-)

  8. I think apples are really healthy. My favorite kind are Honey Crisp Apples. I wish I could eat apples everyday.

    • Mmmmmm! Honey Crisp apples are so sweet and healthy for us…we like them too, Kelsey! We think it would be neat to try to eat a different type of apple every day for a whole week! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing this with everyone in Wonderopolis today, Luca! We LOVE learning new things, too, and think it’s AWESOME that you have the same type of saying in Italy! :-)

  9. Wowzers! I loved this wonder! Apples are some of my favorite foods! I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about the World Record book! Hey, I have a question…whoever is behind that user name of “Wonderopolis”?

    Have fun figuring it out! -Your Wonder Friend, J.O. :D

    • There are LOTS of cool people who work in Wonderopolis, J.O! We all LOVE reading comments from our Wonder Friends and writing back! :-)

  10. Hi, wonderopolis. I love your website! I really love to learn new things. I was wondering how come you can eat the skin on an apple but you can’t on an orange or a banana? I was also wondering how can dogs get really sick if they eat a grape?

    Thank you,

    • Your questions are really SUPER ideas for future Wonders of the Day®, Macie! Thank you for sharing them with us and also for telling us how much you like learning and visiting Wonderopolis! :-)

  11. I think that if you do eat an apple a day then it will most likely keep the doctor away. Apples are fruit, fruits are healthy, healthy foods are the greatest fuels for your body.

  12. This was a very interesting article, Wonderopolis! I think this story has given me a lot of great things to think about, like when I should eat “super foods.” I think I am going to try to eat at least one apple a day. I think that a food with that much vitamin A and numerous heath benefits protecting me from life threatening diseases, such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s, will be able to get me ready for my seasons of basketball and soccer.
    Also, in your passage, you said that apples are very healthy, what about caramel covered apples? Are they healthy for you? If not, I was going to stick with plain apples anyway, but every once in a while, I might want to have a caramel apple. So, are caramel apples as healthy as normal apples? Thanks, Wonderopolis!

    • Wow, Lilly! You did a bunch of extra WONDERing about this Wonder of the Day®! We LOVE that! We’re glad you are going to eat healthy foods like apples to get you in tip-top shape for your basketball and soccer seasons! Although eating a caramel apple is probably more healthy than eating a bunch of sweet, sticky caramel by itself, a caramel apple isn’t as good for you as eating a plain apple or two. It’s OK to enjoy a caramel apple every once in a while as a special treat, though! :-)

  13. Why did Wonderopolis start (I mean why did you put it up)? Why doesn’t copper stick to a magnet? Who invented Wonderopolis?

    • Those are all GREAT questions, Present! Wonderopolis was created to be a place where all kinds of Wonder Friends (students, parents, teachers, grandparents) could learn cool new things together every day! We hope you enjoy visiting! :-)

  14. Hi, wonderopolis! I LOVE apples! My favorite kinds are honey crisp, and granny smith. I eat apples almost every day! I am glad that apples are so healthy and nutritious!

    • We think it’s AWESOME that you love apples so much, Kristin! We love them, too! Thank you for sharing your favorite varieties with us today…we bet you have inspired other Wonder Friends to try a healthy apple as a snack today! :-)

  15. Hello, I love Wonderopolis! So does my teacher! She made homework for us and we have to use wonderopolis. That’s how much my teacher loves it. I have a ? What is your favorite wonder? You can only write one.

    • We don’t think we can pick ONE favorite Wonder of the Day®, Audrey! That would be too hard because we love them ALL! Please tell your teacher that we think she’s WONDERful for encouraging you and your classmates to explore Wonderopolis! :-)

    • Hi, Maneeth! That’s a great question! Apples are naturally sweet, meaning they don’t contain refined sugars like a lot of processed sweets (cookies, candy, etc.). Apples also contain fiber and are low in calories. Plus, they have vitamins your body needs to help you grow up healthy and strong! :-)

    • Hi, Nya! Thanks so much for hanging out in Wonderopolis and visiting this Wonder of the Day®! We think it’s super cool that you and Maneeth are friends! :-)

  16. I leaned lots of things about apples today! For example, now I know that eating apples can help lower high blood pressure and the chance of heart disease. Apples may provide protection against Alzheimer’s disease and provide relief from allergies. Two new words learned about were Quercetin, a reddish pigment considered an antioxidant and found in apples and significant which means a lot of something. Which is healthier an apple or an orange? Is it possible to avoid checkups at all costs if you are really healthy? I hope you enjoyed my response!

    • Thanks for leaving us this GREAT comment, Team McNeil 8! You sure did learn a LOT of interesting things about apples! We’re glad you’ve got two new vocab words you can use now! We’re not sure which fruit is healthier for you, an apple or an orange. They both have vitamins and nutrients your body needs, so we think they both ROCK! Even if you’re really healthy, it’s always a super idea to visit the doctor for a check up! :-)

  17. After I read that apples help keep away cancer, alzheimer’s and more, I started eating an apple! My friend has cancer. It would make my day if you did a wonder about surfing!!!

    • Hello, Anne! We’re super sorry to hear that your friend has cancer. We know you have a big, caring heart, and we’re certain your friend appreciates that about you just like we do! We think a future Wonder about surfing is a GREAT idea! Thank you for suggesting it! :-)

    • We’re so happy to hear that you like visiting Wonderopolis and learning new things, Aakash! We do, too! :-)

    • We’re glad you like hanging out in Wonderopolis and learning new things with us, Luke! Thanks for letting us know! Have a WONDERful day! :-)

  18. This article was intresting! :-) I never knew that apples keep away cancer. This reminds me when my grandpa had skin cancer. He was lucky he is still alive. I love this wonder. :lol:

    • Wow Julie, thank you for sharing with us! We are so happy to hear your grandpa is doing well. We think it’s WONDERful to eat fruits and vegetables to keep us healthy and strong! Have a WONDERful and exciting day! :)

    • We bet you, your orthodontist and your braces will appreciate if you cut up the apple first! Bite size pieces might help keep the doctor, and the orthodontist, away, Naya B! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

  19. Although I don’t have braces, I do have jaw problems, so I eat things like apples, carrots and cellery in bite-size pieces. If you like to add things to your apple, like peanut butter, you could also try honey or the honey nut flavor cream cheese. Both are really yummy!

    • Great idea, Bethany Rose! We’re getting hungry just thinking of your awesome suggestions! They sound like healthy options, too! :)

    • We LOVE WONDERing about ways to stay healthy and full of energy… and we’re glad to hear that you enjoyed our Wonder, Natalie! Thanks for sharing your comment! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Can an apple a day chase the doctor away?
  • Where did the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” come from?
  • How can you turn healthy choices into healthy habits?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to take some positive steps toward a healthier lifestyle? You’ve learned that an apple a day may indeed keep the doctor away. Obviously, “apple” is an important part of that phrase.

But is there another important part? Yes! It needs to be an apple a day.

You need to make healthy choices each and every day. Making good choices regularly over time turns those choices into healthy habits!

If you want to be as healthy as you can be, here are four healthy habits to develop as soon as possible:

  • Wash your hands regularly! If you wash your hands before and after meals, after using the bathroom and after playing outside with other kids, you’ll be a lot less likely to spread germs and catch a cold.
  • Get plenty of sleep every night! You may not like to go to bed too early, but sleep is very important. Getting enough rest allows you to think clearly and perform at your best all day long.
  • Make wise food choices! Good nutrition is an important part of overall health. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet on a regular basis. Avoid fatty and processed foods. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables as often as possible.
  • Exercise daily! Playing video games and watching television can be fun, but too much seat time can make you unhealthy. Try to get outside and engage in some type of physical activity every single day. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel!


Still Wondering

Explore ways in which food provides energy and materials for our bodies with Science NetLinks’ Nutrition 2: Good Food, Good Health lesson.


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