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An Apple a Day to Keep Heart Attacks Away

If everyone over the age of 50 ate an apple a day, 8,500 deaths from heart attacks and strokes could be avoided every year in the UK, say researchers.

Apples would give a similar boost to cardiovascular health as medicines, such as statins, yet carry none of the side-effects, the University of Oxford researchers say in the BMJ. They base their assumptions on modelling, not direct scientific study. Any fruit should work, but getting people to comply could be challenging. More than two-thirds of adults do not eat the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day, population surveys suggest. And although nine in 10 of us do manage to eat at least one portion a day, Dr Adam Briggs and colleagues, from the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group at Oxford University, say we would all benefit from eating more. By their calculations, if adults of all ages could manage to eat an extra portion of fruit or veg a day, as many as 11,000 vascular deaths could be averted each year.

The Victorian mantra of "an apple a day" to keep the doctor away is particularly important for the over-50s, who are at increased risk of vascular diseases, say the researchers.

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