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Garden Idea: An Apple a Day

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British Apples & Pears teams up with leading dietitian to urge people to snack positively to help their mental and physical wellbeing.

Staying well during this challenging time is not just about physical health, but about our mental health too. Being isolated and out of our usual routines can be a difficult adjustment and may lead to more frequent snacking. Research from British Apples & Pears found that even before lockdown, British adults were eating on average 1,412 calories a day in snacks. Leading dietitian Sian Porter has teamed up with British Apples and Pears to discover how snacking can not only affect our body, but our mind too.

“Our diet has a significant impact on our gut microbiota and gut environment”2 says Porter. “A more diverse gut microbiota can benefit our immune system by discriminating between and protecting from bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. Alterations of these gut microbial communities may cause immune impairment with associated health consequences such as tissue damage and possible auto-immune reactions3.” Fibre-rich plant foods, like apples, in our diet encourage the growth of more ‘friendly’ bacteria in the large bowel and could play an important role in helping us stay healthy.4

While much of the nation’s focus seems to have been on keeping physically fit, especially as we learn to live without gyms or fitness centers, British Apples and Pears is urging people to take action and reconsider their snacking habits too.

A balanced diet as part of a healthy lifestyle is critical for our physical and mental health. Gut health has not only been linked to immunity, it has also been associated with mental health including stress and depression5. Researchers call this the Gut Brain Axis and it’s bidirectional, meaning our gut influences our brain, just as our brain influences our gut. What we eat can impact and influence our gut microbiota and gut environment so we need to choose carefully what we snack on.

British Apples & Pears executive chair, Ali Capper, says: “We’re asking people to think about simple steps to improve their gut health with the potential to help look after their immune system. Why not grab an apple before or after your hour’s daily exercise? You’ll not only be giving your gut a nutritional boost you’ll also be hydrating your body too – apples are 86% water. We know from our research that young adults (aged 16-24) are the group opting for less healthy snacks more often, consuming an average of 1,008 calories per day from savoury snacks and 1,360 from sweet snacks. A British apple, provides a delicious 77 calorie sweet snack with plant based fibre that your gut will thank you for.”

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