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Nutrients. 2015 May 26;7(6):3959-98. doi: 10.3390/nu7063959.

Apples and cardiovascular health--is the gut microbiota a core consideration?

Author information

  • 1Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition and Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR), Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AP, UK. kieran.tuohy@fmach.it.
  • 2Nutrition and Nutrigenomics Group, Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all'Adige, Trento 38010, Italy. kieran.tuohy@fmach.it.
  • 3Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition and Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR), Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AP, UK. j.a.lovegrove@reading.ac.uk.

Abstract

There is now considerable scientific evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can improve human health and protect against chronic diseases. However, it is not clear whether different fruits and vegetables have distinct beneficial effects. Apples are among the most frequently consumed fruits and a rich source of polyphenols and fiber. A major proportion of the bioactive components in apples, including the high molecular weight polyphenols, escape absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract and reach the large intestine relatively intact. There, they can be converted by the colonic microbiota to bioavailable and biologically active compounds with systemic effects, in addition to modulating microbial composition. Epidemiological studies have identified associations between frequent apple consumption and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Human and animal intervention studies demonstrate beneficial effects on lipid metabolism, vascular function and inflammation but only a few studies have attempted to link these mechanistically with the gut microbiota. This review will focus on the reciprocal interaction between apple components and the gut microbiota, the potential link to cardiovascular health and the possible mechanisms of action.

KEYWORDS:

apples; blood lipid; cardiovascular; cholesterol; fiber; gut microbiota; inflammation; juice; pectin; polyphenols; vascular

PMID:
26016654
PMCID:
PMC4488768
DOI:
10.3390/nu7063959
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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