I am horrified to read that draft guidelines for the NHS in England are suggesting that millions of low risk people should be put on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to protect them against heart attacks and strokes. Why do we keep looking for a pill for every ill?

University of Oxford researchers recently published a report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) saying that apples give a similar boost to cardiovascular health as medicines, such as statins, yet carry none of the side-effects. Why is the NHS not trying to get more people to eat apples?

Statins have many known side effects, including:

  • Inflammation (swelling) and damage to your muscles
  • nosebleeds
  • cold-like symptoms
  • headache
  • feeling sick
  • problems with the digestive system such as constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion and/or flatulence (passing wind)
  • muscle and joint pain
  • difficulties sleeping (insomnia)
  • loss of appetite
  • nightmares
  • dizziness
  • inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) which can cause flu-like symptoms
  • ringing in the ears
  • blurred vision
  • skin problems, such as acne or an itchy red skin rash
  • changes to your normal pattern of urination, such as having to urinate more frequently
  • feeling usually tired or physically weak
  • loss of sensation and pain in the nerve endings of the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy)
  • bruising more easily
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • memory problems

This is not an exhaustive list! Remember, apples do not have any known negative side effects!

Dr Peter Coleman, of the Stroke Association, says:

“Apples have long been known as a natural source of antioxidants and chemical compounds called flavanoids, all of which are good for our health and wellbeing. This study shows that, as part of a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, a daily apple could help to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.”

Apple a Day Could Prevent 8,500 Deaths from Heart Attacks and Strokes


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