The phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" has been going on for decades due to the fact that apples have many health benefits. Latest study reveals that apple, especially Granny Smith, a day can keep obesity and obesity-related medical disorders at bay.
Obesity is on the rise in the U.S. and government health agencies are spending a lot of money each year to combat medical conditions that arise due to obesity such as type 2 diabetes, heart-related diseases as well as cancers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that more than 33 percent of Americans are obese. A major chunk of the young population between the age of 12 and 19 years are also obese.
Researchers at the Washington State University suggest that non-digestible compounds found in apples may help prevent obesity and its related disorders. The scientists also pointed that even though non-digestible compounds are found in all types of apples, Granny Smith apples has the highest content of these compounds when compared to other apple varieties.
"We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties," says Giuliana Noratto, a food scientist and the lead researcher of the study.
Noratto explains that friendly bacteria are produced in the colon due to the presence of non-digestible compounds found in food items such as apples. However, as Granny Smith apples are rich in non-digestible compounds, when compared to other varieties of apple, they help in increased production of the friendly bacteria.
The scientists reveal that the non-digestible compounds are unharmed when they make their journey to the colon despite being exposed to chewing, digestive enzymes and stomach acid. In the colon, these non-digestible compounds are then fermented by bacteria that aid the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut.
Noratto and her research team suggest that the friendly bacteria production in obese people's colon is usually disturbed. A good bacteria balance in a person's colon steadies the metabolic processes, which influences inflammation as well as the feeling of being full. The food a person consumes helps to determine the bacteria balance in the colon.
The researchers examined mice droppings in a lab and some of the mice were obese. From the droppings they observed that the bacteria in the colon of obese mice were disturbed. These obese mice were then fed Granny Smith apples and the scientists examined their faeces again. The scientists found that friendly bacteria in the colon of obese mice changed and they were similar to what is found in a slim a mouse's dropping.
The researchers suggest that the study is important as it can help people prevent obesity and obesity-related disorders such as low-grade chronic inflammation that leads to diabetes. The research is also significant as it will assist people to identify the apple variety that can be consumed to better fight obesity and obesity-related disorders.
The findings of the study have been published in the journal Food Chemistry.