Health Benefits of Bacteria found in Apples and other Plant-Based Foods
Apples, along with many other whole plant-based foods, are loaded with bacteria — about 100 million bacteria in the case of apples, many of which should be a part of our diet, especially if serious about health. On my YouTube channel, DNA Hacker Secrets, I talked about the importance of pre- and probiotics for gut health (1, 2). The apple, in this case, is providing both the prebiotic fiber and the probiotic bacteria essential for our health.
People forget that the health of our gut is tied to the foods that we eat and our diet must be composed of foods consumed the way nature offers them. All too often, we alter our foods by fermenting, overcooking, frying foods, for example, that can kill the healthy bacteria we need, oxidize the food we eat, and generate damaging chemicals that cause inflammation, mutations, and oxidative stress.
It is no wonder then that serious apple lovers swallow the core not only get extra fiber but also for important phytonutrients like flavonoids. Recent research shows that by eating the core, people ingest about 10 times more bacteria than people who would otherwise discard the rough center.
Furthermore, the old proverb, “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” Sorry, my apologies! You probably have heard the more modern version: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Either way, if you want to “keep the doctor away,” go organic, as a new study in Frontiers in Microbiology suggests. Why is that? Well, organic produce carries a more diverse community of microorganisms than the conventionally grown plant foods (~40%), making them healthier for us to eat, especially gut health. Remember that guy health is associated with many other benefits (i.e. mental health, healthy weight, anti-inflammatory, immune boost, etc.).
For each fruit, researchers analyzed bacteria found in the stem, peel, flesh, seeds, core, and calyx — the dry, straggly bits at the bottom where the flower used to be.
Overall, both organic and conventional apples were host to a similar number of bacteria, with most of the 100 million germs hiding in the seeds, the researchers say. Discard the core, however, and an apple contains just 10 % of that! Most people are missing out on a whopping 90 million healthy bacteria by discarding the core. The rest of the bacteria are mostly found within outer skin and inner flesh.
Another reason to buy organic, is that pathogens, including those in the Escherichia-Shigella family which can cause diarrhea and intestinal disease, are found in most of the conventional apple samples but not in the organic. And the reverse is true for healthy probiotic bacteria likeLactobacilli.
Finally, Methylobacterium, a type of bug that plays a role in helping strawberry flavor compounds mature, was significantly more abundant in organic apples, especially on the peel and in the flesh, the researchers say. This might improve the taste of the more natural fruit compared to conventionally grown varieties. I have tested this in a variety of fruits, as well, including apples, and have confirmed this to be the case. This could be attributable to a variety of factors within farming and storage conditions.
If you want to learn more about this topic and about mindful eating, please visit my YouTube channel, DNA Hacker Secrets. I will be creating a video soon and will update article then.