A single apple could harbour as much as 100 million bacteria, but it's probably a good thing
- One apple could contain as much as 100 million bacteria.
- But you'll need to eat the core to get the majority of it. If you throw the middle away, the number drops to 10 million.
- But it's actually a good thing to consume this bacteria, according to scientists, because it enhances the diversity of your gut biome.
- Essentially, the more variety of bacteria in your gut, the less likely it is for one to be dominant enough for you to get sick.
- "The microbiome and antioxidant profiles of fresh produce may one day become standard nutritional information, displayed alongside macronutrients, vitamins and minerals to guide consumers," said Birgit Wasserman, the lead author of the study.
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Finding out your food is covered in bacteria might make you feel a bit queasy. But in the case of apples, it's probably a good thing.
According to a new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, a single apple can harbour as much as 100 million bacteria, and organic ones carry a much more diverse colony.
Researchers from the Graz University of Technology in Austria found that a regular 240g apple contains roughly 100 million bacteria, which you will consume if you eat the core. But if you discard the middle part, the number falls to 10 million.
"The bacteria, fungi and viruses in our food transiently colonize our gut," said senior author of the study Gabriele Berg. "Cooking kills most of these, so raw fruit and veg are particularly important sources of gut microbes."
He said consuming foods with a diverse and distinct bacterial community is good for our gut health, because it limits the growth of one species getting out of hand. In other words, the more variety, the less likely it is that one will be dominant enough for you to get sick.
He added that organic apples were superior when it came to the type of bacteria present.
"Escherichia-Shigella - a group of bacteria that includes known pathogens - was found in most of the conventional apple samples, but none from organic apples," he said. "For beneficial Lactobacilli - of probiotic fame - the reverse was true."
Organic apples also had more Methylobacterium, which are known for enhancing the flavor of strawberry.
"The microbiome and antioxidant profiles of fresh produce may one day become standard nutritional information, displayed alongside macronutrients, vitamins and minerals to guide consumers," said Birgit Wasserman, the lead author of the study.
"Here, a key step will be to confirm to what extent diversity in the food microbiome translates to gut microbial diversity and improved health outcomes."
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