- A simple dietary intervention like eating less than a cupful of strawberries a day can decrease inflammation of the colon in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)
- Strawberry powder that is equivalent to a three-fourth cup of strawberries can suppress weight loss and diarrhea
- Strawberries also improve the composition of microbiota in the gut known to be affected by IBD
Eating about a cupful of strawberries a day can keep inflammation of the colon at bay and improve gut health, say researchers from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
is a term for two painful conditions that can cause severe diarrhea and fatigue. One of them called Crohn's disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract,
and the other named ulcerative colitis mainly affects the colon and the rectum
. Medications and surgery can treat the conditions.
‘Gut health can be improved and inflammation of the colon seen in inflammatory bowel diseases can be decreased by eating strawberries daily.’
"The sedentary lifestyle and dietary habits of many people in the United States -- high-sugar, high-animal-fat, but low-fiber diets may promote colonic inflammation and increase the risk of IBD," says Hang Xiao, Ph.D., who led the study.
The research team presented their results at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables in IBD
IBD affected around 3 million adults in the U.S. in 2015
, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with IBD also have a higher risk of colorectal cancer
Studies have shown that dietary consumption of fruits and vegetables are associated with a lowered risk of IBD. Previous reports have studied the effects of purified compounds and extracts of strawberries on IBD.
Hong Xiao and his team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst including Yanhui Han, a Ph.D. proposed that using whole strawberries was an effective and practical approach to decrease colonic inflammation
in both IBD patients and people without IBD.
Apart from being widely consumed, whole strawberries contain essential components like dietary fiber and phenolic compounds bound to fibers that are absent in purified compounds and extracts
Can Strawberries Suppress IBD Symptoms?
Han and Xiao conducted the study on four groups of mice
- Healthy mice consuming a regular diet
- Mice with IBD consuming a regular diet
- Mice with IBD consuming a diet with 2.5 percent whole strawberry powder
- Mice with IBD consuming a diet with 5 percent whole strawberry powder
The doses of strawberries
were in line with what a human could reasonably consume.
The researchers found that the benefits seen by consuming strawberries were many-fold -
- In mice with IBD, consuming a dose of whole strawberries equivalent to as low as three-quarters of a cup of strawberries per day in humans significantly suppressed body weight loss and bloody diarrhea
- The strawberries also diminished inflammatory responses in the mice's colonic tissue
- Dietary treatments of whole strawberries caused a reversal of the unhealthy microbiota composition in the IBD mice; colonic inflammation usually causes an increase in harmful bacteria and a decrease of beneficial bacteria in the colon with IBD
- Their experimental data revealed that strawberries might be causing decreased colonic inflammation by impacting abnormal metabolic pathways in the IBD mice
Future plans are to validate these findings in IBD patients.
While eating three-quarters of a cup of strawberries a day definitely seems beneficial to enhance gut health
, Xiao advises people to first consult with a doctor before changing diets. References :
- Strawberries could help reduce harmful inflammation in the colon - (https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2018/august/strawberries-could-help-reduce-harmful-inflammation-in-the-colon.html)