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The old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away might have some truth behind it.

A new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, erythromycin and pregnancy has suggested that the crunchy fruit could help prevent people from getting frail.

The disorder can heighten your risk of falls, fractures, disability, hospitalisation and even mortality.

Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of apples because blackberries could also provide a helping hand.

Both of these fruits contain flavanol, a plant compound, that can reduce the chances of being among the 10 to 15 percent of older adults who experience the syndrome.

READ MORE: Dr Mosley recommends ‘protein-packed’ breakfast that could ‘protect against Alzheimer’s’

A key flavanol that can help combat frailty is quercetin, which is a bitter-tasting compound found in fruits, vegetables, leaves, seeds, red onions, grains, kale, and other food supplements.

The study by Harvard University’s Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL) challenges the main dietary recommendation for preventing frailty resting primarily on upping your protein intake.

While getting enough protein is crucial especially as you age, flavanols could also help.

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Writing in the journal, Dr Shivani Sahni said: “There may be some validity to the old saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor (or frailty) away.

“Our findings suggest that for every 10 mg higher intake of flavanols per day, the odds of frailty were reduced by 20 per cent.

“Individuals can easily consume 10 mg of flavanols intake per day since one medium-sized apple has about 10 mg of flavanols.

“Although there was no significant association between total flavonoid intake and frailty, higher flavanols intake (one of the subclasses of flavonoids) was associated with lower odds of developing frailty.

“Specifically, higher quercetin intake was the flavonoid that had the strongest association with frailty prevention.

“This data suggests that there may be particular subclasses of flavonoids that have the most potential as a dietary strategy for frailty prevention.”

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