Staff Writer for Wake Up World
If you love apples, we’ve got great news! They are totally loaded with bacteria, and the old adage is even more right-on than we ever knew. One apple a day really could (theoretically) keep the doctor away. If you find yourself saying “how is that really possible?!?” and “ew!”, then it’s high time we talked about your microbiome. The news is about to get even better for you!
What Is A Microbiome?
Merriam-Webster defines “microbiome” as “a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body” (1)
Many people think of the microbiome as “gut bacteria”, but that’s only part of the picture. Bacteria are everywhere, so microbiomes are everywhere too. Colonies of bacteria live all over our bodies, and inside them. They live on your family pet and they’re all over the ingredients for tonight’s dinner too.
If the idea of being covered in giant colonies of bacteria seems awful to you, take heart. It is 100% natural, right and good… and the healthier you are, the more balanced and robust your microbiome is. A healthy microbiome is necessary for human survival.
In fact, the moment you leave the sterile environment of the womb and pass through the birth canal, you become a being with a microbiome.
One interesting thing about this is even though a microbial colony might be centered on a person, animal, plant, or fruit… the colony is “open”. We don’t live in bubbles. So this makes our microbial colonies interconnected. Your microbiome can affect and be affected by its surroundings.
Put more simply, what you put on and in your body matters. We always knew it did, but we keep learning more and more just how much. No man is an island, even on a microscopic level.
Our Microbiome And Our Food
So, it’s official: You really are what you eat. If your microbiome is working in harmony with other bacterial colonies it comes in contact with, it follows that you should give your microbiome some good things to come in contact with.
And apples, as we had long suspected, really shine when it comes to interacting with us on this level. It seems they love us just as much as we love them… maybe more. The list of health benefits from apples is long and covers every part of you. From brain health to digestive health to assistance with recovery from certain infections, the ways in which our bodies respond positively to apples cannot be overstated.
Research also suggests that organic apples have a slight edge in some areas: “…diversity estimates revealed organically managed apples to harbor a significantly more diverse microbiota than conventionally managed ones” (3)
In this same study published in the highly revered journal Frontiers In Microbiology, it was observed: “Each apple fruit harbors different tissues (stem, peel, fruit pulp, seeds, and calyx), which were colonized by distinct bacterial communities. Interestingly, fruit pulp and seeds were bacterial hot spots, while the peel was less colonized.”
This is important because, just like our own gut bacteria (for example) is not the same as the bacteria found on our heads or in our mouths, so goes the behavior of the fruit’s bacterial colonies. Each aspect of the fruit’s “body”, has different bacterial makeup.
Eat It Real
You can add your microbiome to the long list of reasons to eat only real, whole foods. If your body is colonized with all these important bacteria, and it interacts with the world at large, it needs to interact with bacteria it can really groove with.
Junk food is junk food for a reason. It’s over-processed, has little nutritional value, and generally does not speak your body’s language.
On the other hand, natural fruits and veggies that are grown in rich, healthy soil are something your body can definitely work with. Simple preparations involving minimal additives like oil and salt. Clean-burning fuel that is nutrient-dense and free of unnatural ingredients. These are things your body recognizes as nourishment and wants more of.
It doesn’t understand what Cheetos are; the Frito-Lay factory is not known for its rustic, earthy appeal.
Mother Earth Gives Us What We Need
Working in harmony with the plants that Mother Nature offers is a great way to find balance in our own bodies. Functioning as part of this ecosystem as opposed to separate from it, allows the foods we consume to completely nourish us on every level. When our bodies are nourished holistically, even on the microscopic levels, we experience a greater degree of health and vitality. This gives us a stronger presence in the world, enhancing all of our interactions and experiences. All of these benefits and more, at still just one apple a day.
About the author:
Amelia Harris is a writer and eco-activist, interested in health and all things esoteric, with a passion for sharing good news and inspiring stories. She is a staff writer for Wake Up World.