This proverb, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, is said to have originated in Wales in the 1860s.
When first used, however, this proverb had a slightly different form. It began, ‘eat an apple when going to bed’ and then followed this up with ‘you will keep the doctor from earning his bread’.
‘Bread’, in the above phrase, roughly means ‘salary’ – i.e. ‘you will stop the doctor from earning his salary’ (due to the fact that there are fewer ill people demanding his attentions). It was not until the 1920s that the proverb in its current form appeared in print.
This proverb, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, has both a literal and a more broad meaning. Literally, it suggests that eating one apple a day will mean that you do not need to visit the doctor.
More broadly, it is about getting into a healthy daily routine. Our routine might not literally involve eating an apple every day. It might involve healthy eating more generally.
This proverb is all about looking after our health. It can be applied both in a specific sense and in a more general sense. In its specific sense, this proverb is telling us literally to eat an apple every single day (if we can) to get the benefit of the fiber, vitamins and other nutritional advantages this fruit offers. In its more general sense, this proverb signifies that we should look after our health.
So, in summary, this proverb can be taken to mean:
- Eating apples is good for our health
- Looking after our health is a good idea
- Taking responsibility for our own health will prevent us from having to see the doctor.
- Getting into a daily routine can be good for health
- Good health can start with simple acts – like eating an apple
Establishing a healthy routine means we will have fewer health issues. Building up a good routine is so important. A healthy diet is crucial for mental and physical well-being. More broadly, healthy living (such as sleeping well and exercising) will stop us needing medical attention. Fruit and vegetables: fruits like apples are great sources of vitamins and fiber. Taking positive action for our health is always a good idea.
This proverb can only be understood if its historical context is explained. Nowadays we usually visit the doctor. So, why does the proverb suggest that an apple ‘keeps the doctor away?’ Surely, it should say ‘keeps us away from the doctor?’ Well, until relatively recently, doctors used to visit their patients rather than the other way around. This is still the case in many parts of the world. So that is why the proverb suggests away of preventing doctors’ visits to us.
This proverb has also been turned into a popular joke. The joke goes: ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away, if you aim right’. Here, the joke suggests that the best way to keep the doctor away is not to eat an apple – but to throw it at the doctor. The fact that this joke has become so popular attests to the popularity of the original proverb. People would not understand the joke if they did not first understand the proverb that it is based on.
1. Staying healthy: even if we do not literally eat one apple every single day, this proverb does remind us of the importance of good health.
2. Daily routine: the proverb suggests that getting into a good daily routine can help us to stay healthy. And that health can be both mental and physical.
3. Motivation: this is a proverb that we can use to motivate ourselves to look after ourselves.
4. The power of simple acts: eating an apple daily is a very simple thing to do. however as this proverb shows, even a simple act can be a powerful one.
5. Valuing ourselves: this proverb encourages us to value ourselves and our health and to keep ourselves in good condition.
6. Taking responsibility for ourselves: this is a proverb that motivates us to take positive action to improve our lives rather than simply expecting others to take care of is.
7. Forward thinking: looking after ourselves now, this proverb demonstrates, is better than ending up with bigger problems that will need specialist help to put right. As such, this proverb also attests to the value of taking positive action now rather than waiting for things to get worse.
A simple, rhyming proverb, this saying actually has a lot to tell us. Firstly, it motivates us to take positive action to look after our health. It emphasizes the importance of well being and of valuing ourselves by taking good care of ourselves every day.
Relatedly, this proverb also shows us the value of getting in to a good daily routine. And, it encourages us to get into good habits early on and as soon as possible rather than not taking positive action until it is too late. This is surely one of the more common proverbs out there. Even if we do not actually like the taste of apples, we can still absorb the general principles about health, motivation, and self care that are right at the heart of this popular saying.
Read more in Wikipedia.
Category: Proverbs, Sayings, Idioms and Phrases
Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Shaye from WI. Shaye Wonders, “Does an apple a day really keep the doctors away?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Shaye!
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 that basically means that eating nutritiousfood 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 fruitthat grew on a tree.
Essentially, they believed that eating fruitdaily promoted good health. But is there any truth to it?
In fact, there is. Eating nutritious food helps keep 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, and yogurt.