An Apple a Day Matches Modern Medicine When it Comes to Heart Health

applesIn the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal, researchers from the University of Oxford in England estimated how effective the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” would be today in terms of preventing heart disease in the over-50 population.

The results have people around the world sitting up and taking note.

As posted on the University’s website: “Using mathematical models, the researchers calculated that prescribing an apple a day to all adults aged 50 and over in the UK would prevent around 8,500 deaths from heart attacks and strokes every year.”

They say this is similar to the 9,400 fewer heart deaths that would be seen if everyone over 50 who was not already taking them was given statins – modern cholesterol-lowering heart drugs.

This last figure uses the results of a recent large study led by a different Oxford group which found that statins can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, including in people with low risk of heart problems.

apple_preventionDr Peter Coleman, of The Stroke Association, said: “Apples have long been known as a natural source of antioxidants and chemical compounds called flavonoids, all of which are good for our health.”

This study shows that, as part of a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, a daily apple could help to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.

“While it is vital that those who have been prescribed statins continue to take this highly-effective medication, everyone can lower their risk of stroke with simple lifestyle changes, like eating a balanced diet.”

Although apples are more expensive than statins, the researchers conclude that an apple a day is able to match the more widespread use of modern medicine.

The researchers stress that no-one currently taking statins because they are at high risk of heart disease should stop, although they add: “by all means eat more apples.”

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