An Apple A Day May Keep The Doctor Away A Study Finds

An Apple A Day May Keep The Doctor Away A Study Finds

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Title: Assessing non-digestible compounds in apple cultivars and their potential as modulators of obese faecal microbiota in vitro

Author: Condezo-Hoyos et al.

Journal: Food Chemistry

Objective: To characterise seven apple cultivars produced in the Pacific Northwest U.S. regarding their content of non-digestible compounds and to assess how these compounds can modulate bacterial populations in faeces from obese mice as a potential underlying mechanism to help re-establish a healthy balance and protect from obesity-related disorders.

Background

Fruits and vegetables are known to confer a multitude of health benefits. Apples also confer many health benefits, (although many are generally applied to high-fiber foods and not necessarily just apples). Some of the known ones include:

  • Apple juice linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Protect against Parkinson’s disease
  • Known anti-oxidant
  • Reduced risk of pancreatic cancer
  • Decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduced atherosclerosis
  • Reduced risk of gallstones
  • Help with irritable bowel syndrome
  • Weight loss/ control
  • Prevent cataracts

The content of apples, specifically fiber and phenols, have limited absorption in the GI tract which allows them to potentially influence gut flora. Previous studies have linked certain apple compounds to influence of intestinal microflora, for example pectin. However the content of these compounds can vary significantly by the type of apple as well as other conditions (soil quality, how they are harvested, storage, etc).

Methods

The authors investigated the following apples

  • Braeburn
  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Golden Delicious
  • Granny Smith
  • McIntosh
  • Red Delicious

In each type of apple, they characterized the content of extractable phenols, non-extractable proanthocyanidins, dietary fibre and available carbohydrates as well as some other variables.

They identified the apple with the highest content of these molecules and fed them to obese mice. After, they assessed the bacterial content of the mice stool.

Results

Granny smith apples had the highest extractable phenolics, non-extractable proanthocyanidins, and dietary fibre (20.6–32.2%). Thus, granny smith apples were fed to the mice.

Analysis of the feces showed relative abundances of various bacteria typically seen in lean mice (Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Enterococcus, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli, and Bifidobacterium).  

Conclusion

Granny Smith apples contain the highest levels of non-digestible compounds (fibers, polyphenols) and a low content of available carbohydrates.

These bacteria-friendly compounds promoted the grow healthy bacteria in the gut of mice.

These results suggest that apples, especially granny smith, may help fight obesity, improve the health of your gastrointestinal tract and improve digestion.

Original Article

Condezo-Hoyos, L., Mohanty, I. P., & Noratto, G. D. (2014). Assessing non-digestible compounds in apple cultivars and their potential as modulators of obese faecal microbiota in vitro. Food Chemistry, 161, 208-215. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.03.122

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