According to a new study, an apple a day is not quite sufficient to the doctor away, but it could improve your health.
”Everybody thinks of the apple as a healthy food, and it is, but after adjusting for other variables we didn’t find a difference in doctor visits between apple eaters and non-apple eaters,” said Matthew Davis of the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor, who led the research
Davis and other scientists wanted to give a simple answer to an old question: is the 300-years old proverb about apples really true?
In order to find the answer, they compared apple eaters to people who don’t consume the fruit, using data provided by more than 8.000 U.S. adults who filled out questionnaires between 2007 and 2010 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Only 753 participants, 9 percent of the total, ate at least one apple day. People who only consumed apples in the form of juice, pie or applesauce were considered non-apple eaters.
According to the study, apple eaters had higher educational fulfillment and, were more likely to be from a ethnic or racial minority. Also, they were less likely to smoke.
Apple eaters were more likely to keep the doctor away, reporting fewer visits to health care clinics. Even so, the difference wasn’t statistically significant after adjusting health characteristics and socioeconomic factors.
The apple eaters did seem to be significantly more likely to avoid prescription medications. An interesting fact is that people who consumed small- or medium-sized apples were more likely to avoid medication than those who liked large apples.
Approximately 19.3 million U.S. adults consume the equivalent of about 26.9 million small apples every day. More than 8.8 million pounds of apples are eaten every day in the United States, the researchers stated.
If the regular U.S. adult would eat at least an apple a day, they would achieve net savings of as much $19.2 billion on prescriptions medicine.
“While it does have some scientific basis, checking out whether an apple a day keeps the doctor away isn’t your typical scientific hypothesis to test,” said Dr. Rita Redberg, the editor-in-chief of JAMA Internal Medicine, the journal which published the study.
Apples have been associated to a reduced risk several forms of cancer, asthma and cardiovascular disease. Also, the fruit may have beneficial effects for diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, weight management and bone health.
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