Researchers from the University of Massachusetts have found that strawberries are not only delicious, rich in vitamins and low in calories, they can even help with inflammatory bowel disease.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis , or chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Nevertheless, the topic is often still taboo in everyday life – too private, too uncomfortable. Because along with the chronic inflammation of the intestinal mucosa are bumpy and for years painful abdominal cramps, frequent and sometimes bloody diarrhea, nausea and fatigue.

Despite intensive research, the causes of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are still not fully understood.

CED – a lifelong diagnosis?

In both diseases, the symptoms can be  partially relieved with drugs such as cortisone, antibody therapies and surgical measures. While Crohn’s disease is not curable so far, ulcerative colitis can be cured by surgically removing the entire colon, including the rectum.
But it does not have to come that far. Because often also the life and nutritional habits of the patients play a big role. A lot of sitting, little exercise, a high-sugar, high-fat, low-fiber diet – all this promotes intestinal inflammation, they say.
However, experts also say that there are CED-compatible foods. This applies, for example, to fruits and vegetables, even if that can not be said in general terms. However, according to a new study , there seems to be an official anti-CED superfood: strawberries.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts have taken a closer look at them and found that strawberries help alleviate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The strawberry diet

The researchers around the nutritionist Dr. Hang Xiao tested the healing properties of the strawberry on mice, some of which had chronic bowel inflammation. Some of these rodents received freeze-dried strawberries in addition to their normal diet.
The special diet suggested: The mice, on which regularly strawberries were on the menu, suffered from then on less diarrhea, the inflammation in the intestine decreased and the mice gained weight again. In addition, the researchers reported that in chronic inflammatory bowel disease, the number of harmful bacteria normally increases and the number of beneficial bacteria in the colon from – in the context of dietary changes of mice showed a reversal effect. Both the intestinal flora and the metabolism of the animals normalized. These results were presented at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Virginia strawberry (picture-alliance / BSIP / CDC / J. Carr)Strawberries do not actually belong to the berries, but to the groupage fruits: The actual fruits of the strawberry are the small yellow grains (nutlets) on the surface, which can be seen here in close-up.

A strawberry a day keeps the doctor away – or how was that? Something more than the mini-dose of strawberries that the mice have received, it would have to be in humans – the equivalent of a scant cup of strawberries a day, the researchers said.

Follow tests with intestinal patients

Important in their study is that you also take only whole, real strawberries – no extracts or individual compounds. “Otherwise, one neglects the effects of many other important ingredients in berries, such as dietary fiber or phenolic compounds attached to it, which can not be extracted by solvents,” said Yanhui Han, a graduate student involved in the study.
Next, the researchers want to find out whether the salutary effect of strawberry can be confirmed in humans. Hang Xiao and his team want to work with bowel patients.

Please no independent diet change

At the same time, the researchers warn against being able to independently change the diet as an Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis patient. It should only be done in consultation with the attending physician to prevent any unwanted effects or allergies.
Not enough of superfoods yet? In our picture gallery we take açai, quinoa, ginger and co. Closer under the magnifying glass:


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