Can an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Not always, but full servings of fruits and vegetables are proven to have a variety of health benefits that will make those doctors visits a little less frequent or at least ensure you'll get glowing reviews from your physicians when you get that annual physical.
1. Fruit Can Reduce The Likelihood of Heart Attack
Anyone who has high cholesterol has likely been prescribed statins, a medication to lower cardiovascular disease. But Oxford University researchers have found that eating a piece of fruit each day also can significantly reduce chance of heart attacks or strokes. In fact, "eating even one piece of fruit each day lowered the risk of a heart attack or stroke by one third over a seven year period,” a result that’s as is nearly statistically similar to effects of taking a statin, but without the side effects. Whether you take statins or not, it's clear that if you aren't already doing it, adding a piece of fruit to your daily diet is critical to a healthy heart.
2. Can Certain Fruits Help Stave off Diabetes?
A Harvard University Study found that eating 3 weekly servings of various fruits including apples, peaches, plums, apricots, blueberries and grapes lowered the risk of participants developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 23% compared to those in the study who ate 1 serving of fruits per week. This same study found that 90 percent of diabetics who changed diets to include more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans were able to come off all diabetic medications. Amazing!
3. Fruits and Vegetables are high in Fibers
Keep over-the-counter laxatives in the medicine cabinet. Fruits are notorious for being high in necessary fibers to make your bathroom visits more pleasurable. Leave the skins on apples, pears, peaches and other fruits and choose fibrous vegetables like brussel sprouts, beans, artichokes, broccoli and beets. Drink a lot of water and you should be good to go, if you know what we mean...
5. Forget the MultiVitamins?
A set of studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that multivitamins are a waste of money with no provable health benefits. Studies like this are surely of major concern for the $12B vitamin industry in the US. The damning study followed nearly 6,000 men over age 65 for more than a decade to track both the risk of heart attacks and cognitive function among those who took multivitamins and those who didn't. In the end, it found no benefit to the vitamins either in terms of boosting motor skills or reducing heart attacks. However, another study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found that "people who eat seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day have a 42 percent lower risk of death than those who eat less than one portion." Wowzers.
Moral of the Story: The Results are in and pretty clear... Not all medicines are worthless but regardless, it is time to step up your fruits and vegetables game.