Friday, January 22, 2010

Another Reason to Eat an Apple a Day

Source: ScienceDaily (Summary by NIM)

You've likely heard of probiotics and prebiotics, which are normally associated with foods such as yogurt or certain vegetables (like the inulin found Jerusalem artichokes), but new research is suggesting that perhaps apples may also be beneficial to our friendly gut bacteria.

Prebiotics are relatively newer to the consumer market. Whereas probiotics are the live friendly bacteria themselves, prebiotics are nutrients that help the friendly gut bacteria survive and replicate. This is precisely where apples come into play. Microbiologists from the National Food Institute at the University of Denmark found that when they fed mice a diet rich in apples and apple products, there was a much higher percentage of friendly bacteria found in their intestinal tracts versus mice that were fed a control diet.

According to one of the researchers, "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,". Even though these results were found in mice, the results are promising to humans and may help explain the old adage 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away'!

Find out more about this study by checking out the article called "Friendly Bacteria Love the Humble Apple" from Science Daily (Jan. 20, 2010).