Organic foods may significantly improve your gut health, according to a new study. When researchers compared organic apples to conventionally grown apples, they discovered the former contain a more diverse population of bacteria, which can have some health benefits.
The team found organic apples contain a healthy probiotic known as Lactobacillus. Meanwhile, the study also found the chance of finding pathogenic bacteria like Escherichia and Shigella was higher in conventional apples. These kinds of bacteria tend to lead to food poisoning.
“Vegetables and fruits, especially when consumed raw, represent the most important source for a diverse microbial community, which is mandatory for a healthy gut microbiome and our immune system,” study author Birgit Wassermann, a PhD student at the Graz University of Technology in Austria, told a news portal.
The team chose to investigate apples for their research because it is one of the popular food items that are widely consumed across the globe. The reason raw fruits and vegetables are rich sources of gut bacteria is because when you cook food it kills off all the bacteria.
“The highly diverse microbiome of organically managed apples might limit or hamper the abundance of human pathogens, simply by outcompeting them,” Wassermann told a news portal. Adding,“Probably, the microbial pool organic apple trees are exposed to is more diverse and more balanced and potentially supports the plant also in resistance during pathogen attack.”
However,Wassermann notes that her findings do not mean you avoid eating fresh foods just because you can't afford organic, which can be expensive. “Organic or conventional? Pretty irrelevant. The main thing is that people eat more fresh produce in general,” Wassermann told a news portal.
Increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables can have immense benefits for your health regardless of what kind you choose. “The most important thing I tell my patients is this: Increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption is far more important than organic versus non-organic. If you choose not to eat fruits and vegetables because you can’t afford organic, that’s the wrong choice. Any fruits and vegetables are better than none,” Kristin Kirkpatrick, the manager of Wellness Nutrition Services at Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, told a news portal.
The study's findings were originally published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.