Apples and Their Effect on Heart Disease

fuji apples

Even in dead of winter
apples are plentiful

Apples and their health benefits… An Apple a Day… From Wire Services Is it true what they say about apples? It seems like barely a week goes by without someone telling us that we can be, “Healthy, wealthy and wise,” if we would only eat… (thus and so.)

I am automatically attracted to these articles because I believe that there must be some truth in what the author is pushing, even if it is just a teeny, tiny bit. And my purpose with this blog is to pass along information relevant to us seniors.

In previous articles I’ve covered many of the Super Foods like celery, sweet potatoes and certain kinds of mushrooms. This article may very well blow you away because it essentially repeats what we have been taught since childhood, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

As things turn out, there is a lot of truth in this statement—at least according to Dr. Adam Briggs from Oxford University, UK. An apple a day actually might eliminate the need to see a doctor and has the potential to save thousands of lives. A study published in the December 2013 issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) says that Oxford researchers seeking to examine what would really happen if a large population followed this popular proverb and everyone in the study ate at least one apple each day.

The study author, Dr. Briggs, analyzed how the countrywide health of British residents over 50 would be affected by eating just one apple a day, while maintaining their normal caloric intake. Next, Briggs compared the effects of having everyone in the country begin taking statin drugs, if they weren’t already.  You see, Briggs is still of the belief that statins are advised if the patient is at high risk of cardiovascular. (The reader is advised that the medical community in the USA may be of the belief that statins may be the cause of other health problems and medical science as a whole is, to the chagrin of the drug manufacturers, rethinking the value of statins.) “In the U.K., at the moment (statins) are advised if you are at high risk of cardiovascular disease,”

Briggs, of the BHF Health Promotion Research Group at Oxford University, told “So we said, let’s see what happens if we give them to everyone else as well, and that came out to 9,500 fewer deaths per year, in people over 50 years old.” To Briggs’ surprise, an apple a day had a similarly impressive effect on the population. “If everyone (ate an apple a day), we estimate 8,500 fewer deaths from heart disease and stroke every year,” Briggs said. Besides the obvious nutritional value of apples, Briggs could not offer any other real benefit. “Fruit and vegetables broadly speaking contain fiber, which is one thing known to have beneficial effects on health,” Briggs said.

“More so, with apples, they’re a natural source of antioxidants and flavonoids which are all related to better cardiovascular health.” While the study results seem promising, Briggs says that people on statins should not be replacing them with apples. In fact, never make any change in medications without the input of your personal health care provider. “Those currently taking (statins) should continue to do so, but they might also benefit from adding an apple to their diet,” Briggs noted. The Christmas edition of BMJ is known for publishing tongue-in-cheek research – but Briggs noted that it’s all backed up by real data. “Small changes to your diet can have a really meaningful impact on population health, just adding an apple a day,” Briggs said.

 Posted by at 2:14 pm