An apple a day could be good for your guts

The general perception of apples as a health-promoting food is reflected in the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and new research shows this may be close to the truth.The reason, according to the results of a study by microbiologists at the University of Denmark's National Food Institute, is that apples may be good for intestinal health because they boost the levels of good bacteria in the digestive system.

The general perception of apples as a health-promoting food is reflected in the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and new research shows this may be close to the truth.

The reason, according to the results of a study by microbiologists at the University of Denmark’s National Food Institute, is that apples may be good for intestinal health because they boost the levels of good bacteria in the digestive system.

However, the study authors noted that more research is needed to determine whether the results of the study, which tested the effects of apple consumption on rats, apply to humans as well.

The rats were fed a diet of apples and apple products such as apple juice and purees.

The researchers then checked their to see if there was any improvement in the levels of "friendly" bacteria, which are good for digestive health and may reduce the risk of some diseases.  

“In our study 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," study co-researcher Andrea Wilcks said in a news release from the journal's publisher.

“In our study 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," study co-researcher Andrea Wilcks said in a news release from the journal's publisher.

“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.”

The study findings were published online on January 20 in the journal BMC Microbiology.

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