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A new study by researchers at Austria’s Graz University of Technology has found that a typical apple contains over 100 million gut-friendly bacteria vital to our health, but organic apples contain more diverse and balanced bacteria compared to conventionally grown ones.
Gut health has been the catchphrase in the health and wellbeing community in recent years. A healthy gut contains bacteria that works to transport food, convert it into nutrients to absorb and store, and moves waste out of the body. A healthy gut environment has been linked to more than just gut health – microbiomes that line your gut are also important to our other core organ functions and mental health.
“When it comes to gut health, variety is the spice of life – and in this regard, organic apples seem to have the edge,” says Professor Gabriele Berg, one of the leading authors of the study.
There seems to be some truth when people claim to be able to “taste the difference” in organic produce. Some specific groups of bacteria, such as escherichia-shigella, known for its health-affecting potential were found in organic apples, but not in their conventional store-bought counterparts. Methylobacterium was also present in substantially higher levels in organic apples – these are responsible for the flavour in the peel and flesh of the fruit.
These results correlate with previous findings on the fungal community in apples. “Our results agree remarkably with a recent study…which revealed specificity of fungal varieties [in organic apples] to the different tissues and management practices,” said Birgit Wasserman, also author of the study.
What these studies show is that across both gut-friendly bacteria and fungi, the microbiomes that harbour freshly harvested organic fruits are more diverse and distinct. Scientists are hoping that one day, the microbiome and antioxidant information of fresh produce can be displayed alongside macronutrients to guide consumers towards healthier food choices.
Lead image courtesy of Pexels.