An apple a day … keeps cholesterol at bay? Fruit may work better than statins at preventing artery blockages: study
Sarah Knapton, The Daily Telegraph, National Post Wire Services | 18/12/13 | Last Updated: 18/12/13 1:27 PM ET
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An apple a day really will keep the doctor away and is as effective as statins at preventing strokes and heart attacks, a new U.K. study suggests.
Researchers at the University of Oxford have concluded that around 8,500 deaths could be prevented every year if people over 50 who are not already taking statins ate an apple each day.
The Pendragon apple contained more beneficial compounds than any other
Apples are high in soluble fibre which slows the build-up of cholesterol-rich plaque in the arteries. Last year researchers found the Pendragon apple contained more beneficial compounds than any other.
Dr. Adam Briggs, of the BHF health promotion research group at Oxford, said: “While no one currently prescribed medicine should replace them with apples, we could all benefit from eating more fruit.”
Apples, unlike statins, have no side effects
Also apples, unlike statins, have no side effects.
Previous studies, which showed the benefits of fruit consumption for cardiovascular health and decreased mortality, were compared with similar mortality figures for statins.
Around 5.2 million people are eligible for statins. If everyone over age 50 were to be prescribed statins, it would mean an extra 17.6 million would take them — and 9,400 more deaths would be prevented each year.
‘The Victorians had it about right’
Researchers assumed there would be a 70% compliance rate if apples were prescribed, which would prevent 8,500 deaths. The results appear in the British Medical Journal.
Noting further that the study shows just how profoundly even small changes in diet and lifestyle can affect health outcomes, Briggs said: “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.’ “