An Apple a Day

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Pick Your Own Apples at Parlee FarmsWe all know the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It has a nice ring to it, and is a fun saying to recite. On the surface, it seems like a simple call to action. Eat more apples because they are good for us. We’ve talked about the health benefits of apples, and besides that, we know they taste delicious! But, have you ever wondered where the saying actually came from? Here’s a look at its meaning in more detail:

A Popular English Proverb

The first recorded reference of the proverb, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, first appeared in the 1866 in what is now modern-day Wales, in an area known as Pembrokeshire. Back then, it looked a bit different: Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread. Today’s popular saying first appeared in print sometime after that, around 1887. However, the meaning of both sayings is pretty clear – eat an apple each day, and this could help keep you healthy.

Although the first version is through to have originated in Wales, and today’s version started appearing in 1887, there have been there variations of the proverb. Here’s one that came from the Devonian Dialect, a dialect that is spoken in the West Country of England: Ait a happle avore gwain to bed, An’ you’ll make the doctor beg his bread; or as the more popular version runs: An apple a day Keeps the doctor away. 

Studying the Apple’s Health Benefits

Around the same time that those sayings first started appearing, scientists began studying the health benefits. William Thomas Fernie, who was alive during the time that the sayings started to appear, wrote a paper called The History and Capabilities of Herbal Simples. IV.—The Applewhere he talked extensively about the health benefits of the apple. Here is a snippet from his writing:

Chemically, the apple is composed of vegetable fibre, albumen, sugar, gum, chlorophyll, malic acid, gallic acid, lime, and much water. Furthermore, the German analysts say that the apple contains a larger percentage of phosphorus than any other fruit or vegetable.

Although we know a lot more about the chemical composition of the apple, the fact that he was inspired and motivated to study this fruit is very interesting. He went on to talk about how gentle the apple is to the stomach, how beneficial an apple poultice is for various health complaints, and also mentioned the popular proverb.

Today, we know that apples are not only healthy, but they taste delicious. They are also wonderful when used in cooking! Here’s a look at other articles about apples that you may enjoy from our blog:

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This post was written by Parlee Farms