A new study has revealed that apples can effectively boost anti-bacterial immunity because they are packed with vitamin C. This can help prevent chances of developing pneumonia. The researchers discovered that bacteria use hydrogen peroxide, which is a bleaching agent.
Nelson Gekara, the lead researcher from Umea University in Sweden said, “By using hydrogen peroxide to defeat the immune system, you could say that the bacteria are fighting with fire. The body itself also produces hydrogen peroxide as a defence against the bacteria.”
"Therefore, it was surprising to see that many types of bacteria actually use the same substance to overcome the body´s defences," he said. "One of the best known substances with the ability to neutralise hydrogen peroxide and that could hence boost anti-bacterial immunity are vitamins such as Vitamin C found in fruits. Perhaps the old adage 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' is not off the mark," Gekara added.
The study was centred on Streptococcus pneumonia. Also called as pneumococcus, this bacterium can cause illnesses like meningitis among others. It’s also the most common bacterium causing pneumonia. The researchers also found that this is done effectively when pneumococcus and other bacteria attack the inflammasomes, which are an important component of the immune system.
Bacteria such as pneumococci release large amounts of hydrogen peroxide, which tends to inactivate inflammasomes, ultimately weakening the immune system. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, also stated that in an experiment conducted on mice, manipulated bacteria produced lesser amounts of hydrogen peroxide. This implied that inflammasomes weren’t activated. It also resulted in generation of a faster inflammatory response that cleared the bacteria present in mouse lungs.
Apples are among many other fruits that contain vitamin C, which is known to effectively boost the immunity system. So, eating apples can potentially lower the risk of developing pneumonia.