Eat your apples!


The news has been full of the importance of gut health and its connection to our brains. This means that for children to learn easily and efficiently we need to take care that their digestive systems are full of ‘healthy’ bacteria.  These are also known as probiotics and with this knowledge, sales of probiotic supplements have risen considerably.

But is this necessary?  Humans have always needed a healthy gut so where did our ancestors source the bacteria for their gut microbiome?  Certainly not from bottled pills or liquids bought from a pharmacy.

In July, a research study published in Frontiers in Microbiologyrevealed that a medium sized apple supplies about 100 million bacteria.  These are found in the flesh of the apple, not the skin and represent a huge number of different types of bacteria – mostly those we need for health.

Significantly, most of the microbes seem to be centred in the core of an apple – perhaps because this is the most fibrous part of the fruit, and the bacteria feed off fibre. The seeds had the most bacteria of all.

So if you peel and core the apples you feed to your children (and yourself), you are throwing away 90% of the bacteria.  This should stop and make you think.  Why throw something away only to turn around and try and replace it with some or other pill?

Plenty of people eat an apple in its entirety. Try to cultivate this habit yourself. Munch the core and seeds along with the flesh and eat the well-washed skin too. Fibre is good for our guts.

The moral of this story is that fresh produce probably supplies us with probiotics. Those of us who really strive to eat a balanced diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds probably don’t need to spend money on bottled microbes.

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