Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a set of painful conditions that can cause severe diarrhoea and fatigue. Treatments can include medications and surgery. But now researchers report that a simple dietary intervention could mitigate colonic inflammation and improve gut health. In this case, a strawberry a day could help to keep the doctor away.
In 2015, 3 million adults reported being diagnosed with IBD. IBD includes both Crohn’s disease, which can infect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, and ulcerative colitis, which is characterized by inflammation of the colon and rectum. People with IBD also have a higher risk of colorectal cancer.
The dietary consumption of fruits and vegetables has been associated with a lowered risk of IBD.
The researchers found that dietary consumption of whole strawberries at a dose equivalent to as low as three-quarters of a cup of strawberries per day in humans, significantly, suppressed symptoms like body weight loss and bloody diarrhoea in mice with IBD. Strawberry treatments also diminished inflammatory responses in the mice’s colonic tissue.
But decreased inflammation wasn’t the strawberry’s only conferred benefit during this study. Colonic inflammation adversely impacts the composition of microbiota in the gut. With IBD, the abundance of harmful bacteria increases, while levels of beneficial bacteria decrease in the colon. Following the dietary treatments of whole strawberries, the researchers observed a reversal of that unhealthy microbiota composition in the IBD mice.