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How eating an apple a day could save your life

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
An apple a day keeps stroke and heart attack away almost as well as statin drugs.

Eating apples could be a tasty way to lower your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease. In a new study, University of Oxford researchers compared anti-cholesterol drugs known as statins to apples. What they found out was surprising. Eating an apple a day could benefit heart health similar to taking 40 mg of simvistatin (Zocor) a day.

Stop your cholesterol med and eat apples?

The researchers say it's too soon to replace your cholesterol drug with an apple a day. But eating the fruit could boost heart protection even more.

In their study that comes on the heels of new cholesterol medication prescribing guidelines, the researchers used an assessment tool to predict how eating an apple a day would affect mortality from cardiovascular disease. Then they compared the fruit's benefit to taking a cholesterol lowering drug.

The BMJ published meta-analysis used information from the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists' meta-analysis that show each 1.0-mmol/L reduction in LDL (the bad) cholesterol reduces the chance of death from blood vessel disease 12 percent.
Then they used a risk-assessment model to determine apples compared quite favorably to cholesterol lowering drugs when it comes to lowering the chances of cardiovascular deaths in the UK population.

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The researchers determined if 70 percent of people over age-50 eligible for a statin ate one apple a day instead of taking a drug, there would be 8500 lives saved each year. In comparison, cholesterol lowering drugs would save 9400 lives annually from heart disease or stroke.

Dr Adam Briggs and colleagues, from the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group at Oxford University carried out the investigation.

Dr. Briggs said: "While no-one currently prescribed statins should replace them for apples, we could all benefit from simply eating more fruit."

If you're looking for an easy way to protect heart health, try eating an apple a day. Past studies have suggested the antioxidant rich fruit might also help prevent cancer, lower the chances of Alzheimer's disease and boost immunity to prevent infection. Besides thwarting heart disease and stroke and more, eating an apple a day also promotes dental health. My personal suggestion is to buy organic apples to avoid the pesticides in the skin that contains most of the nutrients.

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Image credit: Pixabay



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