Can an apple a day really keep the doctor away?
This proverb can actually be applied literally, and while far from a panacea, Oxford University researchers say that a daily apple could prevent up to 8,500 deaths from heart disease and stroke a year. Dr. Adam Briggs used data modeling tools to analyze how the British national health of people over 50 years of age would be affected if they were to eat one apple a day, without increasing their general consumption of calories. He then compared the results with the effects of putting everyone on statin drugs, prescribed to reduce cholesterol and lower cardiovascular disease risk.
Briggs was surprised to see that giving statins people over 50 would save 9,500 lives a year, barely a thousand more than eating one apple every day. The study left the question of why apples are so salubrious unanswered, but Briggs opined that vegetables and fruits in general are rich in fiber, and that apples in particular are ripe with antioxidants and flavonoids. All of which adds to a healthier cardiovascular function.
Even though the study was published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal –which has been characterized for having its tongue firmly planted in its cheek- Briggs was quick to point out that his research was supported by actual data. Moreover, he added that the study should not be construed as recommending people who haven’t been prescribed statins to start taking them, and much less as intimation for people who have been prescribed statins to replace them with apples.
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