An Apple A Day: Eat this Fruit to Improve Digestive Health
There’s truth in the adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Research published in the open access journal BMC Microbiology contributes to our understanding of why apples are good for us.
Microbiologists from the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark fed rats a diet rich in whole apples or apple juice, purée or pomace. Another group of lab animals was put on a control diet. The researchers then analyzed the animals’ digestive systems to see if eating apples had any impact on the amount of friendly bacteria in their gut.
“We found that rats eating a diet high in pectin, a component of dietary fiber in apples, had increased amounts of certain bacteria that may improve intestinal health,” says co-researcher Andrea Wilcks. “It seems that when apples are eaten regularly and over a prolonged period of time, these bacteria help produce short-chain fatty acids that provide ideal pH conditions for ensuring a beneficial balance of microorganisms. They also produce a chemical called butyrate, which is an important fuel for the cells of the intestinal wall.” Ultimately, a healthy digestive tract translates into a stronger immune system.
Source: BioMed Central, 2010