An Apple a Day Could Save Thousands of Lives, Study Indicates

Apples

It turns out that eating an apple a day actually might keep the doctor away – and could potentially save thousands of lives too.

In a study published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), researchers from Oxford University sought to examine what would really happen if an entire population followed the advice of the popular proverb, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Using data modeling tools, study author Dr. Adam Briggs analyzed how the national health of people over the age of 50 in Britain would be affected if they committed to eating one apple a day, without increasing their overall caloric intake. Then, he compared this to the effects of placing everyone in the country on statins – if they were not already taking them. Statins have been proven to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“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 FoxNews.com. “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.

While the study didn’t examine why apples seem to demonstrate such a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health, Briggs noted that the fruit has high nutritional value.

“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 these results seem promising, Briggs warns that people already on statins definitely shouldn’t think about replacing them with an apple.

“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.

References
Amanda Woerner (December 18, 2013). An Apple a Day Could Save Thousands of Lives, Study Indicates. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/12/18/apple-day-could-save-thousands-lives-study-indicates/

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References

New Chapter (n.d.). New Chapter Catalog Retrieved from http://www.newchapter.com/catalog

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Lowering Cholesterol the Natural Way

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While most people resort to taking dietary supplements to lower high cholesterol, natural methods are being pushed and highly recommended by doctors and nutritionists to maintain and improve one’s well-being.

Granted that these supplements and medications work well with your body, doing it the natural way has a lot of other benefits other than cutting off fat deposits running (and blocking) through your veins. As the old Appeal to Nature argument goes, “A thing is good because it’s natural.”

Interested in starting to go all natural? Here are some tips:

Know your food

Take the good ol’ doctor’s advice, “watch what you eat” in order to significantly drop your cholesterol rate. But this does not suggest you to stop enjoying food. Remember, eating right is very different from eating less, that’s why upsetting your appetite for you to eat less or worse, not eating at all won’t do any good. The key here is balanced diet and knowing the nutrition facts of your food (e.g. saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, sugar, protein, carbohydrates, etc.)

Separate the Good from the Bad

Eating wisely is just like choosing what is right from wrong. Consuming food with high fatty content reduces High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) AKA good cholesterol in your body, so it’s better to go for white or lean over red and bloody. You may also consider eating fish as substitute for meat. As for cooking, use olive oil or sunflower oil instead of regular palm and coconut oil, as the latter two contains higher saturated fat. It is better to go for baked, steamed, stewed or poached food instead of fried. Eat more fibrous grub such as fruits, veggies, oats, and nuts, while cut down a couple of notches on food with high calories and carbs.

Rock Your Body

Car is to fuel as body is to food. Thus, the logical thing to do is to use that fuel, or as the analogy goes, burn it. And by burning it, not just by simply go through with your day. Watching TV or sitting on the same office chair for 8 straight hours won’t do the job. Do more dynamic physical activities, such as brisk walking, jogging, sports or aerobics to release that pent-up energy. A good 45-minute cardio a day is ideal for lowering bad cholesterol in your body.

A Little Booze Is Not That Bad

As long as you don’t abuse alcohol by going on a binge drinking spree, then you’re fine. Drinking 2 to 3 glasses of red wine daily reduces the risks of heart-related diseases. Resveratol, polyphenol and flavanoids are anti-oxidants found in wine grapes raises the levels of HDL in your body, while protecting the lining of your heart’s blood vessels to prevent blood clotting. Same goes beer drinkers. Beer, particularly dark beer, has antioxidants that relatively provide the same benefits as that of wine.

Kick your Smoking Habit

Cigarette and other tobacco products contain free-radicals that cause the constriction of blood vessels and damage to the arteries’ lining. These effects inevitably lead to build-up of HDL and other fatty substances on the artery walls. Kicking the habit improves blood circulation as the carbon monoxide level in your body drops significantly, while long term benefits include avoiding risks of acquiring heart diseases.

Dodge Stress

As the song goes, “Relax!” Stress comes in many forms, and it’s going to get you whether you like it or not. Stress imposes the increase of cholesterol level in your body by triggering chemical imbalance and the release of fatty substance. For most people, breathing exercises and yoga are the best counteractions for stress. Although, techniques to alleviate stress may still vary, depending on the person’s character and preferences in handling stress.

Natural Supplements

Aside from taking prescribed supplements, natural supplements such as garlic cloves, barley, green tea, oats and artichoke are still considered far more effective and safer. Most of these traditional supplements have the same benefits for lowering your cholesterol level.

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