Apples May Help Health in a Different Way

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! We all know the expression. Apples are rich with fiber and nutrients. In fact, with their high fiber content, apples can aid steady blood sugar levels, lower the risk of heart disease and they are fat and sodium-free. They are rich in vitamin C and contain several B vitamins. Despite being high in carbs, their high fiber content gives them a low GI of 38. In short, the Glucocil team really likes apples.
 
New research is making us like apples even more, especially organic apples. Before eating a piece of fruit, most of us wash the skin, cleaning away anything that might be on the surface of the skin — dirt, oil, wax and more. But what about what’s in the apple? What is under the skin of an apple that we aren’t expecting? It’s more than just the occasional worm!
 
Gabriela Berg, head of the Institute of Environmental Biotechnology at Graz Univ. of Technology, has been studying the microorganism in apples. Her team found around 100 million microorganisms on and inside apples in both regular and organic apples. The researchers were surprised as they expected the organic fruit to have significantly more microbes than the regular apples. But, there was a big difference between the conventional and organic when it came to diversity — organic apples had a vast array of different types. The researchers aren’t sure why the amount of variety is so different when the overall quantity of microbes is the same. The helpful probiotic Lactobacilli was present in the organic fruit but not in the regular apples.
 
These microbes, especially the diversity seen in the organic apples, may help the microbiome in your gut, which can, in turn, aid everything from weight and digestion to asthma and allergies. Even the seeds were biologically rich. “For a long time seeds were really the wasteland of plant microbiology,” Prof. Berg says, “because they were thought to be sterile. But we were really surprised about the diversity of microbial species inside seeds. It’s like the mother giving the first stock of microbes to a newborn baby at birth; it seems to be the same for all plants.
 
In fact, most of the bacteria were found in the core and seeds. So, if you’re some who usually throws away the more fibrous middle, you might want to think twice. The pulp of the apple only holds about 20 million of the 100 million organisms. And, it’s important to note that you won’t get the benefit of the microbes once you’ve cooked the fruit. “Cooking kills most of these, so raw fruit and veg are particularly important sources of gut microbes,” said Prof. Berg.
 
All this being said, if organic produce is too expensive for your budget, don’t worry. Fruits and veggies are so diverse and impact the gut so much that, despite the comparative lack of variety, conventional apples are still great for the health of your microbiome. “Organic or conventional? Pretty irrelevant. The main thing is that people eat more fresh produce in general,” said Birgit Wassermann, the lead author of the paper on the research and a Ph.D. student of Prof. Berg.
 
So, your heart, blood sugar and gut may thank you for increasing your intake of apples!
August 05, 2019
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