Apples are a "miracle fruit" for post-menopausal women, according to scientists, suggesting that consumption could make older females less likely to find a care home.
One group of older women ate dried prunes for a year while another consumed an apple a day for the study conducted at the Florida State University.
"Incredible changes" were identified in the apple eating group, including a 23 per cent decrease in 'bad cholesterol'.
Study leader Dr Bahram H Arjmandi, said: "I never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent while increasing HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol by about four per cent.
"Everyone can benefit from consuming apples."
This comes after research conducted at several institutions revealed that cherries can lower cardiovascular risk factors, potentially lessening the chance of heart attack or stroke.
It is believed that the benefits of eating the fruit could be due to its combination of antioxidant compounds in the fruit.