Does an apple a day keep the doctor away?
Well, probably not. But a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has found it can keep the pharmacist away.
The survey of 8,400 people found that people who ate an apple every day were 27% less likely to visit the pharmacist for drugs.
The fruit may not reduce the likelihood of contracting diseases, but it does seem to keep the worst symptoms at bay and help accelerate recovery. It means over-the-counter medicines will do the job rather than prescription drugs.
That’s thanks to the high fibre content, essential vitamins, minerals and flavonoids (compounds that are believed to help prevent diseases lie cancer).
Apples can potentially:
- Improve neurological health. They contain an antioxidant called “quercetin” that reduces cellular death in the neurons.
- Prevent dementia. Studies have found that they can reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Reduce the risk of stroke. Studies have found that people who eat more apples are at a lower risk of stroke.
- Reduce the risk of diabetes. People who regularly eat apples, pears, grapes, raisins or blueberries have a 7% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Ward off cancer. Eating apples provides you with more phenolics, which are proven to help fight cancer.
The researchers suggest that, based on their findings, if every person in Britain ate an apple every day it might save the NHS $4bn per year.
The author of the study, Dr Matthew Davis of the University of Michigan School of Nursing, wants more research into the potential wisdom of old wives tales and ancient health advise. He expects that many might be grounded in anecdotal evidence that could be backed up with empirical research.
It’s worth taking these sort of studies with a pinch of salt, mind! While apples certainly are very good for you, just eating an apple every day won’t have a significant effect on your health. They’re great but, as always, the boring truth is that they should be part of a balanced diet and exercise plan :).