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 in the U.K could be prevented every year if people over 50 who are not already taking statins ate an apple each day.
Apples are high in soluble fibre which slows the build-up of cholesterol-rich plaque in the arteries.
Lead researcher Dr Adam Briggs of the BHF Health Promotion Research Group at Oxford University says: “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.'”
He adds: “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.”
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.
Apples, unlike statins, have no side effects.
The researchers stress that no-one currently taking statins because they are at high risk of heart disease should stop, although they add: “by all means eat more apples.”
The study was published in the British Medical Journal.