Monday, August 30, 2010

Plantain and broccoli fiber help in Crohn’s disease........


In continuation of my update on dietary benefits of broccoli....

New research from University School of Clinical Sciences in Liverpool, lead by Prof. Jonathan Rhodes, suggests that plant fibers in plantains and broccoli can help prevent relapses of Crohn's disease. This disease is a long term disease of the gut that is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the digestive system, with symptoms including diarrhea and abdominal pain. Scientists believe that rise in processed food and decrease in fibers in diet could be a reason for rise of incidence of this disease.

For this study the scientists tested a range of soluble plant fiber to judge their effect on Crohn's disease. Soluble plant fiber is the kind which comes out of vegetables when they are boiled in water. The results of the study showed that soluble fiber from plantain and broccoli specifically stopped 45% to 82% of the bacteria E.coli from crossing into cells in the intestine. Fiber from leek and apple had no effect.

The sticky E. coli are capable of penetrating the gut wall via special cells, called M-cells that act as 'gatekeepers' to the lymphatic system. Studies have shown that patients with Crohn's disease this leak leads to chronic inflammation in the gut. This study shed that plantain soluble fibers prevented the uptake and transport of E. coli across M.cells. They compared these results with tests on polysorbate-80 - a fat emulsifier used in processed food to bind ingredients together. The tests revealed that polysorbate had the opposite effect to plantain fibers, and encouraged the movement of bacteria through the cells.

The research shows that different dietary components can have powerful effects on the movement of bacteria through the bowel. We  know  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. This work, suggests that it might be important for patients with this condition to eat healthily and limit their intake of processed foods.

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