An Apple A Day Could Save Us From Heart Attack Risk

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The 150-year-old proverb “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” stands the test of time. Say the Oxford University researchers, may have a point and would be effective today in preventing heart disease among people over 50.

In the study, published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal. Using mathematical models, the researchers calculated that prescribing an apple a day to all adults aged 50 and over in the U.K. 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). The Oxford researchers found that statins can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, including in people with low risk of heart problems.

The Benefit of Eating an Apple a Day

Dr. Adam Briggs, Head of the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group at Oxford University. He said ‘The Victorians had it about right when they came up with: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” 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.’ He added, ‘While no one currently prescribed statins should replace them with apples, we could all benefit from simply eating more fruit.’

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The researchers calculated that anyone eating one portion of fruit and vegetables, such as an apple, a day benefits from a 12 per cent reduction in their risk of heart attack and stroke. And this protection from one portion is roughly equivalent – in a person at low or moderate risk of heart problems – to the reduction in vascular death from taking a statin.

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.
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, an organization which funds the research group, agrees: “The ‘apple a day’ message has survived for over a century, though now we encourage people to eat five different fruits and vegetables a day, not just one apple.

He stated, ‘While no one currently prescribed statins should replace them with apples, we could all benefit from simply eating more fruit.’ The researchers calculated that anyone eating one portion of fruit and vegetables, such as an apple, a day benefits from a 12 per cent reduction in their risk of heart attack and stroke.

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And this protection from one portion is roughly equivalent – in a person at low or moderate risk of heart problems – to the reduction in vascular death from taking a statin.

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. Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, an organization which funds the research group, agrees: “The ‘apple a day’ message has survived for over a century, though now we encourage people to eat five different fruits and vegetables a day, not just one apple.

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