LUNGBY, Denmark, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Rats fed a diet rich in apples showed an increase of bacteria that could improve intestinal health, Danish researchers said.
The study suggests eating apples regularly, for a prolonged period of time, helps produce short-chain fatty acids that ensure a balance of microorganisms in the stomach, said microbiologist Andrea Wilcks of the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark in Lungby.
A diet rich in apples, and their fiber component pectin, also helped produce butyrate, an important fuel for the cells of the intestinal wall, Wilcks wrote in a recent issue of the journal BMC Microbiology.
The rats were put on a diet rich in whole apples, apple juice, apple puree and crushed apple fiber. The microbial content of their digestive system then was analyzed to see if a diet rich in pectin had an impact on "friendly" bacteria in the stomach, the study's co-author, Tine Rask Licht, said in a release Tuesday.