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An Apple A Day Might Keep Vascular Disease Away

Everyone knows the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, according to a new a study, that saying might have scientific validity, as eating an apple a day could possibly be as effective at lowering the risk of vascular disease as taking statin drugs.

Researchers for this study used model calculations to arrive at their conclusions. They used the entire population of the United Kingdom as their study group and calculated how many deaths from vascular disease could be avoided if everyone in the UK over the age of 50 was given statin drugs. That would increase the number of people taking statin drugs from 5.2 million to 17.6 million.

Assuming a 70% compliance rate and that the overall caloric intake of the population was constant, the researchers found that the annual number of vascular deaths would be reduced by 9,400.

They then did the same calculations but this time examined what would happen if everyone over the age of 50, whether taking a statin drug or not, was given an apple a day. They found that this would result in 8,500 fewer deaths from vascular disease.

While the reduction in deaths is higher for statin drugs than for apples, the researchers note that the side-effects from statins would lead to more than 1,000 more cases of muscle disease and over ten thousand new cases of diabetes.

The apples, on the other hand, have no adverse side effects.

Researchers from the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group at Oxford University conducted the study. It was published on December 17, 2013, in the British Medical Journal.

Apples are high in a soluble fiber called pectin, which has been shown in other studies to block cholesterol absorption in the gut. Apple skins are also high in powerful plant antioxidants called polyphenols that prevent cellular damage by free radicals.

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