Ring out the old way of eating and ring in the new! You vowed that 2014 is the year that you will eat as healthy a diet as possible. The good news is that it doesn’t take that much to achieve your goal. To eat healthy, it costs about $1.50 extra per day more than what you would spend on a less healthy diet. This according to a recent analysis of diets conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. Their report was published December 5, 2013 in the British Medical Journal. Eating for health doesn’t mean that you have to resort to eating weird or exotic foods, or spending a lot of time in the kitchen. You can reap huge benefits from doing something as simple as eating an apple.

This new study suggests that an apple a day may keep the cardiologist away, nearly as well as the widely prescribed cholesterol lowering statin drugs. British researchers used a mathematical model to compare the impact of prescribing a statin drug to the 22 million people in the UK over 50 years old who were not already taking the medication, or having everyone over 50 eat an apple a day. Based on their number crunching, the apple-a-day model was nearly as effective in preventing or delaying death from heart attack or stroke as taking a statin. (The actual numbers came to 9,400 fewer deaths per year by using a statin vs. 8,500 by eating an apple.) This study gave the apple the edge in terms of any risk from potential side effects!

How is the simple apple a match for a statin drug? Similar to many other fruits and vegetables, apples offer their own unique form of natural medicine. They are high in soluble fiber, which helps maintain normal cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and keep arteries clear of plaque. Apples also contain flavonoids and other phytochemicals believed to have a beneficial impact on human health. This doesn’t mean that everyone taking statin drugs should replace them with apples! The purpose of this study was to underscore the importance of diet and lifestyle in maintaining heart health. Whether you’re on a statin drug or not, eating an apple a day is good advice.