Nutritionist Shares Three Ways To Eat Apples For Gut Health

If you’re working your way towards a healthier gut, you can’t overlook apples! Turns out this fruit is not just a nutritional powerhouse but can particularly help you with your stomach and gut health as they’re rich in bioactive compounds that may influence gut health. Nutritionist Deepsikha Jain took to Instagram to share the different ways apples can be consumed to aid better digestion and gut health.

To cure constipation, Deepsikha Jain suggests eating an apple with its peel on. The fruit’s skin is rich in insoluble fibre, which adds bulk to your stool and leads to smooth movement through your intestines. To treat diarrhoea, Jain recommends eating the apple without the skin. The flesh of the fruit is a soluble fibre and helps slow down digestion and healing diarrhoea. 

To improve your gut system, Jain recommends eating stewed or cooked apples which release pectin, which nourishes good gut bacteria and promotes overall digestive well-being. Epidemiological studies have suggested that apple consumption is linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Here are a few crucial things to know about how apples help your gut health and stomach.

Nutritional Composition of Apples

Apples are a rich source of dietary fibre, primarily in the form of soluble fibre known as pectin. Fibre plays a crucial role in promoting gut health by supporting regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, and acting as a prebiotic, which serves as fuel for beneficial gut bacteria. Additionally, apples contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamin C, potassium, and flavonoids, which contribute to overall health and may indirectly influence gut function.

Prebiotic Effects

One of the key mechanisms through which apples may support gut health is by serving as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are non-digestible compounds that promote the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The soluble fibre found in apples, particularly pectin, acts as a substrate for beneficial gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These bacteria ferment pectin, producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate, which provide energy for colonocytes and help maintain gut barrier integrity.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Chronic inflammation in the gut is associated with various gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Apples contain phytochemicals such as flavonoids and polyphenols, which possess anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds help modulate immune responses and reduce inflammation in the gut, thereby potentially alleviating symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions.

Antioxidant Activity

The antioxidants present in apples, particularly flavonoids such as quercetin and catechins, contribute to their overall health benefits. Antioxidants help neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reduce oxidative stress, which can damage gut epithelial cells and disrupt gut barrier function. By protecting against oxidative damage, apples may help maintain the structural integrity of the gut lining and support overall gut health.

Regulation of Gut Microbiota

The gut microbiota plays a crucial role in maintaining gut homeostasis and overall health. Apples, through their prebiotic effects and rich nutritional profile, can modulate the composition and diversity of the gut microbiota. Studies have shown that regular consumption of apples is associated with an increased abundance of beneficial bacteria and a more favourable gut microbial profile. This modulation of the gut microbiota may contribute to improved digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function.

Promotion of Bowel Regularity

Apples are well-known for their ability to promote bowel regularity and prevent constipation. The combination of dietary fibre, particularly insoluble fibre found in the skin, and water content in apples adds bulk to stool, making it easier to pass. Moreover, the sorbitol content in apples, a sugar alcohol with natural laxative properties, further helps in relieving constipation. By supporting regular bowel movements, apples contribute to overall gut health and prevent digestive discomfort.