It’s a phrase that’s been around for as long as apples have been around. When you’re in Newburyport, Massachusetts, you can’t help but hear it all over town! But do you know where it came from? How did people start saying this? And what are the health benefits of eating apples?

We’re going to answer all of these questions and more with our guide to “An Apple a Day.”

The Origin of Saying

The phrase “an apple a day” is an old Welsh saying originally written as “Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” By the early 19th century, however, this phrase was shortened to its current form. During these times, medicine was still in its early stages and it was especially prudent to eat healthy to avoid medical treatment. While today’s medicine has certainly come a long way, the (apple) core of the advice – eat right to remain healthy – remains true today.

Health Benefits of Apples

Apples are an excellent source of antioxidants and phytonutrients—which may help decrease the risk of cancer and heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and boosting heart health.

Does it Work?

Sort of. The most recent study, published in 2015, examined a large group of apple eats & non-apple eaters. What they found was that people who consume an apple per day tended to be better educated and less likely to smoke. Additionally, these individuals were more likely to keep the doctor away with about a 5% reduction in physician visits. So, overall, there is at least a correlation with apple eating and healthier results.

However, after adjusting for additional factors, the results were deemend not staistically significant. On the bright side, it does seem to have a staistically significant impact in reducing the amount of prescription medications needed.

Where Can I Find the Best Apples in Newburyport?

Have we convinced you to try eating more apples? If so, the local Shaw’s & Market Basket have plenty of apples for sale. But are they the best for you? After speaking with Hilary Cunningham, former product manager at Teak Origin, the answer is mixed. While eating fruits and vegetables is always a good idea, there is growing evidence that “fresh is best.” After comparing apples from major retail chains vs in-season fresh picked, the Teak Origin team found huge discrepencies. In fact, in some cases it would have required eating 45 apples to reach the nutrition contents the USDA states should be in just 1. Yikes!

When you are able, it’s always a great idea to support your local markets and choose fruits & veggies that are in season. If you can make it to an orchard to pick your own – or plant one in your yard – that’s all the better.


No matter what your source, an apple per day shows signs of promise. But don’t stay away too long. Routine checkups, along with a healthy diet, are a critical part of disease prevention – the main point of the whole phrase.