Grandmother was right: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. More especially, it’s a life- saver that reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, and is as effective as taking a statin drug.

In fact, eating an apple a day should be compulsory for everyone over the age of 50, say researchers at Oxford University. They estimate it could save a similar number of lives each year as statin drugs, and without the side effects of diabetes and muscle disease.

Using mathematical modelling, the researchers say that eating an apple a day could prevent 8,500 deaths from heart disease every year if 70 per cent of the total population of over-50s did so, compared to 9,400 saved lives if everyone took a statin.

(Source: BMJ, 2013; 347: f7267)