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Does an apple a day still keep the doctor away?


The expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was first recorded in the 1860’s.
The reasoning behind the expression derived from thefact that apples are rich in minerals and vitamins, meaning apples are good for your immune system. However, is the expression still valid? Studies show that nutrition levels found in fruit and vegetables have been declining mainly due to soil depletion.


Mass agriculture allows for easy and efficient farming and processing of produce.  By continuously re-using the same soil and using intensive farming methods to grow our produce, our soil has shown positive for signs of mineral depletion. Less minerals in the soil means that fruit and vegetables grown from our earth are likely to have much less nutrients.    



A study from Donald Davis , previously a renowned biochemist, conducted a study testing mineral and vitamin levels of multiple varieties of fruits and vegetables to find that there was on average a 41% drop in Iron levels, and a 12% decline in Calcium (1950-1999).  Additionally, there was also depletions in levels of copper, zinc, potassium and vitamin C. Studies show that the worlds capacity to produce food is estimated to decrease by 30% within the next 20-50 years.

Thomas (2000) tested nutrition levels of 27 types of vegetables between 1940 and 1991. Thomas results showed that the largest decrease in mineral content was copper (76%) and Zinc (59%). If nutrition levels continue to degrade at this rate, more food would be required to help the population maintain properly nourished. 


Putting the data into perspective, today we would have to eat an average of 8 oranges to have the same levels of vitamin A of an orange our grandparents might have eaten during 1950. Also, if the research from these studies is accurate, In just under 400 years all of the worlds habitable surface will not be able provide the essentials needed to grow food. So, does an apply a day really keep the doctor away or should we be recommending the daily consumption of eight apples instead of just one? To be continued…



  1. Global Opportunity Network. (2016). Soil Depletion. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Mar. 2018].
  2. Scientific American. (2017). Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Mar. 2018].
  3. Torres, M. (2015). Fruits and Vegetables Reaching an Alarming State of Nutrient Depletion. [online] Waking Times. Available at: [Accessed 21 Mar. 2018].

2 thoughts on “Does an apple a day still keep the doctor away?

  1. Thank you, precisely the information I was looking for. Please may we have more of this?

  2. These are general figures. Of course it depends where the food is grown. Also, is it possible to add minerals and vitamins to the soil to restore them or worms and compost ?

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