According to the University of Oxford’s Comparative Proverb Assessment Modelling Study – published in the British Medical Journal – an apple per day could keep the doctor away after all.
In fact, it could prevent 8,500 deaths from cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. This assumes that there is no change in a person’s calorie consumption and that they are compliant at least 70 percent of the time, researchers pointed out.
“Statins and apples are both iconic,” lead researcher Dr. Adam Briggs told Medscape.
“Statins are now some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. So when the medical world talks about increasing the amount of statins prescribed for primary prevention, we wanted to look at what that would mean for population health and if there were other ways of doing it.”
In the United Kingdom, statin therapy is recommended for primary prevention of vascular diseases. Statins are drugs that decrease cholesterol levels simply by inhibiting the enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase. This enzyme plays a key role in the production of cholesterol in the liver, which produces an estimated 70 percent of the body’s total cholesterol. And increased levels of cholesterol have been closely associated with vascular diseases.
Still, the side effects of statins include muscle pain and the increased risk of diabetes, not to mention abnormalities in liver enzyme tests. In rare circumstances, adverse effects are more severe, leading to muscle damage.
In other words, choosing a natural method of treatment is a better way to go.
The study authors also acknowledged how well apples compared with statin therapy. But swapping apples for statins might be a challenge, they say, given nearly 70 percent of the U.K. population does not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in a five-day period.
The findings suggest that people incorporate apples into their disease prevention regimen. Unsweetened apple sauce counts, too, although the skin is nutrient-rich, so an apple in its unpeeled, raw state is best. Crunch, crunch!
Nutritional prevention of vascular disease can reduce mortality – good news, since there is still much debate in the U.K. about the increased use of statins, especially among patients 50 or older.
And of course, don’t forget, the study results give credence to the 150-year-old health promotion: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
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