Are Apples Better Than Drugs?
True Nutrition is the title of my book, and the title of my blog. I chose that title because I’m a doctor of naturopathic medicine who believes in promoting wellness through nutrition. And I believe in spreading the truth about food and its ability to foster healing and good health.
So here’s some truth for you: An apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Of course we’ve all heard this bit of folk wisdom. It’s been around since Victorian times. But do we really believe it? Quick question: How many of you have been prescribed statin drugs, or know a friend or family member who takes one of these cholesterol-lowering drugs? If you do, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans take these drugs to lower their levels of “bad” LDL-cholesterol. Having lower cholesterol levels is linked to a significantly reduced risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
But statins have potential side effects. The most common are muscle aches and muscle weakness. An extremely rare side effect can even be deadly. So although these drugs have been credited with decreasing the risk of heart disease for millions of Americans, and even though they’re generally safe and well-tolerated, wouldn't it be great if there were a safer, cheaper, more natural alternative? There is.
According to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, an apple a day can literally provide the same benefit one would get from taking a statin drug, assuming you’re not at high risk for heart disease. In fact, investigators concluded that if every person in the United Kingdom over the age of 50 were prescribed an apple a day, thousands of strokes and heart attacks could be delayed or prevented each year. They emphasized that people who are already taking a statin appropriately should NOT stop. But by all means, everyone should consider eating that proverbial apple a day to help keep the doctor away. No side effects, just benefits.
A. D. M. Briggs, A. Mizdrak, P. Scarborough. A statin a day keeps the doctor away: comparative proverb assessment modelling study. BMJ, 2013; 347 (dec17 2): f7267 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f7267