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Does an “apple a day” Still Keep the Doctor Away?

Many of you are familiar with the saying, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. This is a short anecdote that states eating an apple a day can keep you in good health. Although used to encourage healthy eating, does this statement ring true today?

To answer this question, we need to look at general health recommendations and the environment in which we live! Let’s start with general health tips. Do we need only an apple a day? No! Our body needs a variety of foods to helps us have good health. We need fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, dairy, and oils. In fact, adults need 2 cups of fruit each day1. That’s about 2 apples a day! Our body also needs water for many bodily functions. Adults require, on average, about 8 cups of water a day. To see exactly how much we need from each food group daily, check out the table below! Other factors can also affect our nutritional needs, such as our age, weight, health status, BMI, physical activity, and personal weight goals.

Nutrition plays an important role in health, but there are also other components that contribute to good health. Physical activity and mental health can influence our overall health status. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week2. Mental health includes balancing life’s stresses with life’s joys. Mental health has become more important over time and has affected more people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure to include things in your daily routine that help you to destress, relax, enjoy the positive, and spend time safely with friends and family!

Other ways you can keep the doctor away in this current time is to protect you and your family against COVID-19. Wearing masks in public, washings hands frequently, using disinfectant wipes, avoiding events with large number of attendees, staying hydrated, and following a healthy diet can help protect us from catching or spreading COVID-19. Foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges and strawberries, are great for boosting our immune system and can help prevent us from getting sick. Remember if you are feeling ill, always address any health concerns with your doctor and to find out more information on how you and your family can stay safe and healthy.

Table 1. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 for persons aged 2 years of age and older

Food Group Amount

Vegetables 2 ½ cups

Fruit 2 cups

Protein 5 ½ ounces

Grains 6 ounces

Dairy 3 cups

Oil 27 grams

Extra Calories 240 kcal

**Based on a 2,000 daily calorie consumption. Information retrieved from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025.3



1Centers of Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] (2021). Healthy eating for a healthy weight. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2Centers of Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] (2021). Physical activity for different groups. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

3U.S. Department of Agriculture & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, 9th Edition.


Blog Contributors

Author:Mercedes Martin

Editor: Kaitlyn Longstaff

Public Health Scientist: LaCher E-W, MPH


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