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A new study has found that if all adults over the age of 50 were to eat an apple daily, it could delay or prevent altogether around 8,500 heart-related deaths within the UK every year.
The research comes from the British Heart Foundation and Oxford University and suggests that daily apples could help to reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes suffered every year in the UK.
Published in the 'British Medical journal', the study shows that apples provide benefits to over-50s that are incredibly similar to those obtained by taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. According to the researchers, a daily apples offer the same benefits as giving these drugs to older people who are not already taking them.
The new research confirms that the old adage 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' is factual and could be more beneficial than drug treatments. As well as being available to a wider number of people, apples are also likely to create fewer side effects that statins, according to the researchers.
People that are at risk of developing heart problems that could lead to heart attacks and strokes are advised to alter their lifestyle in a bid to reduce this possibility and improve their health. However, previous studies have found that the chance of such complications like stroke and heart attack can be reduced by taking statins, whether or not someone has an underlying risk of developing heart disease.
This has led to many people arguing the case for the increase in the use of statins, especially when it comes to treating those over the age of 50. Unfortunately this type of drug can also result in a number of unpleasant side effects, such as diabetes, muscle atrophy and damage to the liver.
The researchers estimated that around 70 per cent of people that are prescribed statins follow the course of treatment. They suggest that around 5.2 million people are currently eligible to receive statins while a further 17.66 million would be prescribed them if they became the primary measure against heart-related death in over-50s.
With these figures, they were able to estimate that heart-related deaths would be reduced by 9,400 a year in the UK if statins were given to the extra 17.6 million people. However, if 70 per cent of the UK's population of over-50s were to eat an apple a day - around 22 million people - it would help avoid around 8,500 deaths a year and offer fewer side effects.