An apple a day keeps your heart healthy

Science and Technology

You have probably heard of the phrase ‘an apple a day’ from your GPs and teachers, but will that really keep the doctors away? Yes, according to a study conducted by Oxford University scientists.

Published in the medical journal BMJ, researchers from the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group use data collected from a large study on statins and mathematical models to predict that about 8500 deaths can be prevented or delayed, provided that 70% of the UK people above the age of 50 follow the advice of having an apple a day.

Although they confess that apples may be more expensive than statins, they draw to the fact that eating the fruit do not link to myopathy and diabetes (two adverse side effects experienced by many patients taking statins), and further suggest the NHS to negotiate the prices for apples to be frozen.

No experiments have been done directly on real human beings to investigate the health benefits from consuming the fruit every day in the research.

‘The Victorians had it about right when they came up with their brilliantly clear and simple public health advice: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.’ claims Dr Adam Briggs, the lead researcher of this study.

‘It just shows how effective small changes in diet can be, and that both drugs and healthier living can make a real difference in preventing heart disease and stroke.’

His view is shared by Dr Peter Coleman, Deputy Director of Research at The Stroke Association: ‘Apples have long been known as a natural source of antioxidants and chemical compounds called flavanoids, all of which are good for our health and wellbeing.’

‘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.’

He adds that ‘everyone can lower their risk of stroke with simple lifestyle changes, like eating a balanced diet’.

PHOTO/James Lau