An apple a day keeps cancer and heart disease at bay

The saying goes that an apple a day keeps the doctor away - and now research has suggested there's truth to the old adage. 

Researchers from Edith Cowan University, Australia, looked at the diets of more than 53,000 people and tracked them for 23 years.

They found those who consumed at least 500mg of flavonoids - compounds found in apples - a day were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease. 

Eating an apple, orange, portion of broccoli and handful of blueberries would set a person on their way to 'over 500mg of total flavonoids', the team said.

Flavonoids are thought to keep blood vessels healthy and curb inflammation, which has been linked to both poor heart health and cancer. 

Apples contain antioxidants that 'reduce the risk of dying from heart disease or cancer' (stock)

Apples contain antioxidants that 'reduce the risk of dying from heart disease or cancer' (stock)

'These findings are important as they highlight the potential to prevent cancer and heart disease by encouraging the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods,' lead author Dr Nicola Bondonno said. 

'It's important to consume a variety of different flavonoid compounds found in different plant-based food and drink. 

'This is easily achievable through the diet. One cup of tea, one apple, one orange, 100g of blueberries and 100g of broccoli would provide a wide range of flavonoid compounds and over 500mg of total flavonoids.' 

Heart disease is responsible for one in four deaths in the UK and US, statistics show.

And one in two people born after 1960 in the UK will develop cancer, according to Cancer Research UK. 

To understand how food can prevent these conditions, the researchers analysed 53,048 people who took part in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study over 23 years. 

WHAT IS CORONARY HEART DISEASE?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of death both in the UK and worldwide. CHD is sometimes called ischaemic heart disease.

The main symptoms of CHD are: angina (chest pain), heart attacks, heart failure.

However, not everyone has the same symptoms and some people may not have any before CHD is diagnosed.

Coronary heart disease is the term

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