According to a study published in the British Medical Journal the age old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may be just as effective as some forms of modern medicine.

Just one apple a day in adults over the age of 50 can decrease the likelihood of heart attack or stroke related deaths. The results of one apple a day were similar to prescribing statins in patients of this age group not already taking them. The idea is not that adults currently taking statins to lower their cholesterol levels should stop taking them and switch to apples. Rather, those adults not taking statins can help prevent the need for them in the future by eating just one apple a day.

In Victorian Wales, the first publication of the phrase went like this:

“A Pembrokeshire proverb. Eat an apple on going to bed, And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”

Each year, the British Medical Journal publishes a more light hearted study in their holiday issue. While the topic is not as heavy as other medical related studies, it is interesting to note that this fun side study may have breathed new life into this old proverb.

The number of vascular deaths may only have been reduced by about 3% using the apple a day method but it does show that proper nutrients can help the body function better as it ages. Statins do come with their own risks and side effects can include muscle disease and increased diagnoses of diabetes within the population. An apple, however, has no such negative side effects.

The conclusion of the study showed that both drugs and proper nutrition have their place in improving overall health of patients at high risk for heart disease or strokes.

Do you buy into the age old advice that an apple a day can keep the doctor away?

Image by Daniel Novta via Flickr

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