Written by Tim Cragg, NewEarth University Faculty, School of Health and Wellness, Faculty Researcher
We have all heard the phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but have you ever stopped to think if that is true and, if so, why? “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” seems logical if one is thinking along the lines that fresh organic fruit and vegetables are good for you and should be encouraged instead of eating processed foods, but is there more to it than that.
Is there a Scientific Explanation?
It turns out there is. Aside from the enzymes, polyphenols and flavonoids in apples, the soluble fibre in apples is really important in healing the gut lining and improving the microbiota balance. This is especially important after a course of antibiotics in order to restore the gut back to good health.
Pectin, which is mainly in the skin of apples, is the magic ingredient that will help to heal the gut lining after it has been damaged by antibiotics, and this will also help to rebuild the balance of good bacteria in your gut and pectin is also anti-inflammatory.
Why is Gut Health So Important?
It is estimated that about 70% of our immune system resides in our gut, and it is a fully functioning digestive system that enables us to correctly assimilate and absorb essential nutrients, and eliminate efficiently the waste products from this process.
This means that if we want to be able to absorb from our food all the vitamins, minerals and macronutrients, and send appropriate chemical neurotransmitters to the brain for its proper operation, we must maintain an optimally functioning gut/digestive system.
Without a good digestive system it is not possible to enjoy optimal health, and sadly today it is extremely common to hear of people with food allergies and a less than perfect gastrointestinal tract.
The primary cause of this is over use of antibiotics both as prescribed by the medical profession but also in and on the food that is available to consumers – antibiotics and hormones in conventional chicken and beef, and antibiotics sprayed onto vegetables and fruits to increase shelf life.
When you add in other insults to our systems such as pesticides and insecticides, used so abundantly on fruits and vegetables, and GMO foods, you can see how easy it is for the integrity of our digestive systems to be compromised and damaged.
So…….An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
By rebuilding and healing your gut, an apple will be boosting your immune system. And with a strong immune system you will not be falling victim to sickness and disease. This is why an apple a day keeps the doctor away. It is because it helps keep your main immune system in top form so that it is able to protect you.
Stewed Apple – the Best Recipe for Repair
Because the pectin in the skin of the apple is really important in healing leaky gut (this is when the gut lining has been damaged and small tears appear) and also in encouraging the creation of the right balance of bacteria in your microbiota, the easy release of pectin is the key so that it is efficiently absorbed.
The simple answer is a bit of heat to stew the apples.
- 4 organic apples of your choice, preferably local. Add more apples for a larger batch.
- ½ cup organic raisins or sultanas.
- 2 tsp. Cinnamon powder (or whatever quantity you would like).
- Any other spices that you like such as turmeric and ginger.
- Wash and dice the apples and put into a suitable pan.
- Add sufficient pure water to cover approx. 1/3 of the apples in the pan.
- Add the raisins and cinnamon and stir in while bringing the pan to the boil.
- Simmer for 8-10 mins or until the apple skins appear to have a sheen to them. This indicates that the pectin is now more readily available.
You can have a small bowl of this when hot, then allow to cool and refrigerate for a second bowl later in the day and on subsequent days.
If used to heal a leaky gut, or to restore after antibiotics, take twice a day for up to four weeks by which time your gut should be back to good health. Then continue as often as you like but at least a couple of times per week.
The Benefits of Stewed Apple
- Reduce inflammation– flavonoids decrease inflammation and protect intestinal tissues from damage.
- Reduce gut sensitivity– apples suppress histamine and reduce mucosal sensitivity.
- Reduce weight and adipose fat– eating apples regularly alters the balance of bacteria in the microbiota to favour weight loss and reduce adipose fat.
- Increased production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA)– soluble fibre in apples, and especially pectin, is fermented by the bacteria in the microbiota to produce SCFA. The SCFA help to heal and improve the lining of the intestinal tract, and improve bacteria balance and are anti-inflammatory.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away for us.
Tim Cragg is also a principal participant in CoolWellbeing Foundation