“Eat five (portions of fruit and vegetables) a day”, “5 a day” or “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” – everyone of us is familiar with many sayings which admonish us to follow healthy diets. Most often, the argument brought forward is that fruit and vegetables are especially rich sources of vitamins. A study conducted at the Technical University of Graz has now demonstrated that in addition to vitamins, apples also contain an abundance of healthy bacteria.
In their report, published in late July, the scientists noted that an average apple provided more than 100 million bacteria. These bacteria play an important role in keeping our gut flora healthy and well-balanced, and this turn greatly influences our physical and mental health. However, we should bear in mind that most bacteria colonised the apple seeds. If we only eat peel and pulp, we ingest fewer bacteria – yet still more than we’d find in boiled fruit and vegetables, as heat will destroy many healthy vitamins and bacteria.
The study also discovered that bacterial diversity on and within the apples varied widely. This diversity is also important for our health. Within the study, one difference between organically produced and conventionally managed apples became evident. In addition to beneficial bacteria, conventionally grown apples contained a low abundance of pathogen (= disease-causing) Shigella-germs which, among other, may cause diarrhoea. This pathogen was completely absent from the organically grown apples.
Irrespective of your choice between organic and conventional, the study once again demonstrated the positive role played by the healthy bacteria in our food. Some food such as cheese and fermented vegetables has been known to do so for quite a while. Currently, additional research is conducted on this subject.
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