An apple a day will keep the doctor away.
Thanks to a new study, that saying has taken on even more meaning, particularly for organic apples.
In a recently published paper in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, it was found that organic apples contain a more diverse population of beneficial bacteria than conventional apples.
Researchers analyzed the peel, flesh, seeds, and stem of both organically and conventionally grown apples, looking to find how much and what kinds of bacteria were present. While organic and conventional apples contained the same amount of bacteria, there was a big discrepancy in the types of bacteria found.
“Organically managed apples harbor a significantly more diverse, more even and distinct bacterial community compared to conventional ones,” said Professor Gabriele Berg, an author of the research study.
And that diversity could be key to improved health.
Our guts are home to approximately 100 trillion bacteria, and it is widely believed in the medical community that the more numerous and diverse the bacteria in your gut, the stronger your immune system is likely to be.
Healthy, diverse colonies of gut bacteria can help prevent and treat many common diseases, and research on mice has linked improved gut health to protection against some cancers.
Furthermore, many conventionally-grown foods are sprayed with the super-toxic herbicide glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp and a chemical that has been found to disrupt the gut bacteria in honey bees. Not surprisingly, the Frontiers in Microbiology paper showed that conventionally-grown apples contained fewer beneficial strains of bacteria than organic.
Given that diversity is key to gut health, this makes organic apples an even more obvious choice for those looking to improve their well-being.
As a bonus, organic apples were found to contain more of the microbe methylobacterium. Why is this significant?
This is the bacteria that is known to enhance the biosynthesis of strawberry flavor compounds. As such, it could also be one of the reasons why organic apples taste better than conventional.
What this all tells us that it is not just the human gut that thrives on the diversity of healthy bacteria — so does soil, the bedrock of our food system.
That means that organic products — like apples — aren’t just potentially healthier for you, they’re better for the environment, too.