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Broccoli helps with gut problems

26th August 2010

Research from scientists at the University of Liverpool has suggested that extracts of broccoli and banana may help in fighting stomach problems.

broccoliandbacon

Studies in the laboratory have indicated that fibres from the vegetables may strengthen the body’s defences against stomach infections.

Now, work is under way to examine if broccoli or banana fibres could be used as a medical food for patients with the inflammatory bowel condition Crohn's disease - which affects about 1 in 1,000 people - with 76 patients involved in a clinical trial.

Experts believe a combination of environmental and genetic factors are to blame with the condition more prevalent in developed countries where diets are often low in fibre but high in processed food.

The Liverpool team studied how roughage from vegetables influenced the passage of harmful bacteria through cells inside the gut and found banana and broccoli fibres were beneficial.

Dr Barry Campbell, from the University of Liverpool, said: “We have known for some time the general health benefits of eating plantain and broccoli, which are both high in vitamins and minerals, but until now we have not understood how they can boost the body's natural defences against infection common in Crohn's patients.

“Our work suggests that it might be important for patients with this condition to eat healthily and limit their intake of processed foods.”

A spokesperson for the organisation Crohn's and Colitis, which represents patients with inflammatory bowel disorders, welcomed the research which has been published in the journal Gut and carried out in collaboration with experts in Sweden and Scotland.

 

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