Can an apple a day really keep the doctor away?

A person holding an apple. —Unsplash

The saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may actually have some truth to it, researchers say. A team of experts conducted a review of more than 150 studies to reach the conclusion.

The researchers concluded that an apple, along with some berries and tea —can protect heart health if these things are eaten every day. The scientists recommended that people drink two cups of tea a day along with an apple and some berries.

The goal, the researchers said, was to deliver flavan-3-ols, a “bioactive” compound, to the body. The aforementioned combination provides almost 500 mg of the compound that is considered good for the heart.

The review study found that the chemical was also present in dark chocolate. It can improve blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol.

Professor Gunter Kuhnle, a nutrition expert at the University of Reading, claimed that flavan-3-ols can improve health.

Dietary recommendations are usually to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Doctors want to make sure people have essential minerals, vitamins, and fats.

Several studies have shown that flavan-3-ols have important health benefits and help maintain well-being. It also protects people from disease, which the researchers said was the main reason they investigated the compound.

An international team funded by the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics analyzed data from 157 randomized controlled trials and 15 cohort studies.

Since the bioactive chemical was found to be associated with lowering blood pressure, it was also linked to reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes—that is, maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.

Since the chemical lowers blood sugar, it can reduce the chances of eye and nerve damage.

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“To reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, we recommend consuming 400 mg-600 mg of flavan-3-ols per day,” said Dr. Kuhnle.

“It’s much more effective to take your daily amount in the form of healthy foods or drinks than to take a supplement.”

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