Michelle Schoffro Cook March 1, 2014
Most of us have heard the adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” throughout our lives, but new research shows that there is serious truth to the message. Scientists at BHF Health Promotion Research Group, Nuffield Department of Population Health, at the University of Oxford, England compared the effects of eating one daily apple to taking statin drugs (used to lower cholesterol levels) among British adults aged 50 and up. The study participants made no other dietary or lifestyle changes and their mortality rates from heart attacks and strokes were recorded.
The results of the study were published in BMJ. Scientists found that eating an apple a day or taking statin drugs daily resulted in an equivalent reduction of mortality. The scientists also estimate that if 70% of the 50+ population of the United Kingdom simply ate one apple daily, 8500 deaths every year due to heart attack or stroke would be averted. And, if 90% of the British population over fifty ate a daily apple, the number of lives saved would climb to 11,000 annually.
Scientists also found that prescribing statin drugs to everyone over the age of fifty, would result in 1200 additional cases of myopathy, 200 additional cases of rhabdomyolysis, and 12,300 additional cases of diabetes annually. The great news is that if people ate a daily apple instead of taking statin drugs to prevent heart attacks and strokes, there would not be an increase in any of these serious conditions.
The researchers concluded that “An apple a day or a statin a day is equally likely to keep the doctor away.” They added “We find that a 150 year old proverb is able to match modern medicine and is likely to have fewer side effects.”