Unveiling the incredible benefits of apples for gut health, this article delves into the nutritive potency of this humble fruit. Their rich fiber content and an array of beneficial compounds not only improve digestion but also contribute significantly to overall wellness. Let’s explore why an apple a day may truly keep the doctor away.


Apples and Gut Health

Fiber-filled foods like apples, sweet potatoes, oats, legumes, and green veggies contain carbs that the body can’t digest, and that’s where our gut bacteria come in. Healthy gut bacteria feed on these higher fiber carbs, or prebiotics, which encourages their growth. Raw fruits and veggies nourish the gut as a key source of prebiotics, as well as microbes. In fact, a whole apple (core and stem included) contains some 100 million microorganisms [1].

Proposed Benefits of Apples for Gut Health

As mentioned above, a significant benefit of apples is their fiber content, particularly pectin. Pectin in apples nurtures good bacteria, helping it to flourish and maintain a healthy gut. This results in benefits like regular bowel movements and enhanced immunity.

When comparing the bacterial profiles of organic and conventionally grown apples, both contained the same overall amount of bacteria. However, organic apples exhibited a more diverse range of bacteria, including more beneficial species like Lactobacillus, often found in probiotics [1].

Two recent studies suggest that apples, especially apple pomace, promote gut health by increasing the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and the excretion of bile acids. They might also influence the contents of the small bowel and colon [2,3].

Furthermore, a study indicates that the Renetta Canada apple variety could induce substantial changes in the gut microbiota composition and metabolic activity in vitro. These changes could be linked to potential benefits to human health [4].

Recent evidence suggests that apples, by positively modifying your gut microbiota, may help protect against chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer [5].

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, apples are an incredibly nutritious fruit and there are a number of proposed claims of the multiple health benefits of apples. Organic apples in general contain a better variety of beneficial gut bacteria than conventional apples. However, you’ll get a similar amount of microbes when you eat conventional apples, so don’t let the cost or availability of organic apples keep you from opting for the alternative. After all, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables regardless of how they’re grown is an excellent step in maintaining your health.



[1] Wassermann B, Müller H and Berg G (2019) An Apple a Day: Which Bacteria Do We Eat With Organic and Conventional Apples? Front. Microbiol. 10:1629. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2019.01629

[2] Ravn-Haren, G., Krath, B.N., Markowski, J., Poulsen, M., Hansen, M., Kołodziejczyk, K., Kosmala, M., & Dragsted, L.O. (2018). Apple pomace improves gut health in Fisher rats independent of seed content. Food & function, 9 (5): 2931-2941.

[3] Krishnasamy, S., Lomer, M.C., Marciani, L., Hoad, C.L., Pritchard, S.E., Paul, J., Gowland, P.A., & Spiller, R.C. (2020). Processing Apples to Puree or Juice Speeds Gastric Emptying and Reduces Postprandial Intestinal Volumes and Satiety in Healthy Adults. The Journal of nutrition. 150: 2890–2899.

[4] Koutsos, A., Lima, M., Conterno, L., Gasperotti, M., Bianchi, M., Fava, F., Vrhovsek, U., Lovegrove, J.A., & Tuohy, K.M. (2017). Effects of Commercial Apple Varieties on Human Gut Microbiota Composition and Metabolic Output Using an In Vitro Colonic Model. Nutrients, 9: 533; doi:10.3390/nu9060533

[5] Koutsos, A., Tuohy, K. M., & Lovegrove, J. A. (2015). Apples and cardiovascular health–is the gut microbiota a core consideration?. Nutrients, 7(6), 3959–3998. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7063959