Scientists have uncovered new evidence to suggest that an apple a day really could really keep the doctor away.
US researchers have been pleasantly surprised by the 'incredible' health benefits associated with the fruit during trials.
A group of post-menopausal women who ate 75 grams of dried apples every day for 12 months soon noticed a number of changes.
After six months their levels of harmful low density lipoprotein (LDL) fell by almost 25%, while the "good" high density lipoprotein (HDL), which combats hear disease, increased.
Instead of gaining weight thanks to consuming the extra 240 calories a day, the women lost an average of 3.3 pounds during the experiment.
Another group of women who ate dried prunes regularly did not see the same level of benefits.
Study leader, Professor Bahram Arjmandi, a nutritionist at Florida State University in Tallahassee, US, said: "Incredible changes in the apple-eating women happened by six months - they experienced a 23% decrease in LDL cholesterol.
"I never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent while increasing HDL cholesterol, or good cholesterol, by about 4%."
He added: "Everyone can benefit from consuming apples."
Other effects include a lower level of lipid hydroperoxide and C-reactive protein in the blood of the women.
Lipid hydroperoxides are highly damaging to cell membranes, while C-reactive protein is a marker for systemic inflammation, which has a host of harmful effects.
"The study has confirmed what we have been told by our parents all along. The Asian community has a high risk of diabetes due to increase in weight and this increases risk of high cholesterol. If an apple a day was recommended by governments then we may see a benefit, this health promotion idea would improve health and reduce levels related diseases like heart disease many Asian people I know also suffer from degrees of arthritis cause by c-reactive protein. At present these people are on analgesia but if the cause of the condition was treated we would have less medication consumption and therefore cost implications to the taxpayer would be significant and not only benefit to the patient" - Jamila Husain, Birmingham