Did your mom or grandma ever tell you ‘an apple a day keeps a doctor away?’ This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.
The expression ‘an apple a day keeps a doctor away’ emphasizes the importance of eating healthy. The phrase means you can avoid ill health by managing your diet with sensible, healthy food choices. It’s common for people to replace the ‘apple’ in the saying with other healthy foods.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Yeah right. My uncle is a vegetarian, eats apples daily, and just got diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.”
“An apple a day keeps a doctor away. That’s what my grandma used to say, and I took her advice. No day goes by that I don’t eat an apple or piece of fruit.”
“an apple a day keeps a doctor away? Wim Hof says a cold shower a day keeps the doctor away. He’s got the medical evidence to prove it.”
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away unless you develop lung cancer, then you’re going to the hospital. Guaranteed.”
Why did grandma tell us an apple a day keeps a doctor away? Didn’t she know anything about medical science?”
“There’s some truth to the saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ I’ve eaten a whole food diet for months, and I feel great.”
“Be a good girl and eat your fruit and veggies. Don’t you know that an apple a day keeps a doctor away? It’s great life advice.”
“There’s no reason to believe an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it works.”
The expression ‘an apple a day keeps a doctor away’ Originates from a February 1866 edition of the American magazine ‘Notes and Queries,’ where it appears as follows.
“A Pembrokeshire proverb. Eat an apple on going to bed, And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”
Several variants of the expression replace the ‘apple’ in the phrase with anything healthy. When making a sarcastic reference, some people may replace the apple with something unhealthy.
The first appearance of the saying in print is in a Devonian dialect, recorded by Elizabeth Wright in her work, ‘Rustic Speech and Folk-lore,’ published in 1913, where it appears as follows.
“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.”
Phrases Similar to An Apple a Day Keeps a Doctor Away
- You can replace ‘apple’ in the phrase with anything healthy.
- You reap what you sow.
Phrases Opposite to An Apple a Day Keeps a Doctor Away
What is the Correct Saying?
- An apple a day keeps a doctor away.
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Ways People May Say An Apple a Day Keeps a Doctor Away Incorrectly
The phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ refers to healthy actions and lifestyle habits. It doesn’t have to specifically refer to an apple.
Using the phrase to say how you don’t need medical interventions if you eat an apple a day is factually incorrect. For instance, if you have cancer, eating an apple a day won’t do much to stop the spread of the disease in your body.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase An Apple a Day Keeps a Doctor Away
You can use the phrase ‘an apple a day keeps a doctor away’ to describe the health benefits of fruit and good eating habits. The expression doesn’t always have to refer to an apple. You could replace the ‘apple’ with anything else that’s healthy for you.
For instance, a cup of spinach would be just as beneficial to the digestive system and body. The expression suits social use in verbal exchanges and text conversations. It’s more common for people to say, ‘an apple a day keeps THE doctor away.’