I am sure most of you have heard of the very famous slogan, “An apple a day can keep the doctor away.” There might actually be some truth to this old saying, according to some new research published in the British Medical Journal.
Researchers estimated that eating just one apple a day can cause the same reduction in the number of deaths from heart attack and stroke as taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.
The researchers estimated that providing a statin drug to the approximately 17.6 million adults in the U.K. who are not currently taking these drugs would cause 9,400 fewer deaths attributed to heart attack and stroke. If they offered everyone over the age of 50 living in the U.K. an apple a day, this would prevent approximately 8,500 deaths a year! And that’s the result without making any other dietary changes!
Plus, consider the fact that providing statin drugs to 50 year old adults (or older) in the U.K. would also cause 1,200 more cases of serious muscle disease and 12,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes! Eating one apple a day, on the other hand, causes no side effects.
While the study had some limitations, it indicates that increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables can lower your risk of developing vascular disease which leads to heart attacks and strokes. Apples, along with other healthy fruits, can increase your consumption of fiber which has a very beneficial effect upon blood pressure, the “bad” LDL cholesterol and blood sugar.
Statin drugs work by blocking an enzyme in the liver which manufactures cholesterol. Statin drugs do lower the bad LDL cholesterol but also have many unfavorable and dangerous side effects. Their chronic use can also deplete tissue levels of coenzyme Q10 which is essential for normal cardiac muscle function.
Instead of relying on prescription drugs to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease, add high fiber fruits, whole grains, and vegetables to your diet and avoid foods high in saturated fat and trans fat. Consuming more healthy fats contained in fish, nuts, flax seeds, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil will also keep your cholesterol levels under control.
Remember the apple a day slogan because it is as true today as it was 150 years ago!
“Apple a day vs. statins produces similar outcomes,” CBC News web site, December 17, 2013; http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/apple-a-day-vs-statins-produces-similar-outcomes-1.2467879, last accessed December 18, 2013.
Briggs, A., et al., “A statin a day keeps the doctor away: comparative proverb assessment modelling study,” BMJ 2013; 347: f7267.