Rich in antioxidants, mineral, vitamins, fiber and low in fat, fruits are an essential part of a healthy diet. Not only do they taste great, a new study out of the University of Oxford and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences suggests that eating fresh fruit daily may help prevent heart attacks and strokes. In fact, eating a piece of fresh fruit had them same effect as taking a statin. “An apple a day” can be pretty sage advice, after all.
Researchers looked 500,000 adults from 10 urban and rural localities across China. The team tracked study participants’ health for 7 years through death records and electronic hospital records of illness, and found that the individuals who regularly ate fresh fruit, mainly apples and oranges, were less likely to die from cardiac complications, compared to those who rarely or never added fruit to their diet.
Even eating just one piece of fruit each day lowered the risk of a heart attack or stroke by one third over the 7-year study period, compared with people who never or rarely ate fruit.
Statins are a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs and they also lower the chance of a heart attack by one third, but many people complain of side effects associated with the drug, such as muscle pains and fatigue. So, although it is not recommended that you go off your statins without consulting with your doctor, increasing fresh fruit in your diet may protect against the risk of heart problems and potentially save thousands of lives each year.
This study backs up a study published last year out of the University of Liverpool that lifestyle change,s like eating better and exercising more, have a more profound effect on cardiovascular health than statins.
Photo from here, with thanks.