Broccoli May Curb Crohn’s Progression

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Fibers from broccoli and plantain may help curb development of Crohn’s disease, researchers in Britain suggest.

Carol Roberts of the University of Liverpool and colleagues tested preparations of plant soluble fibers from leeks, apples, broccoli, plantains and the fat emulsifiers polysorbate 60 and 80 — commonly used in processed food manufacture.

The researchers found fiber foods inhibited invasion of the cells lining the bowel by bacteria — particularly a “sticky” type of Escherichia coli related to progression of Crohn’s disease.

The study, published in the journal Gut, finds 5 milligrams/milliliter of broccoli and plantains reduced invasion of E. coli by between 45 percent and 82 percent. Leek and apple fibers seem to have no impact but the emulsifier polysorbate 80 substantially encouraged the bacterial invasion process, the study says.

The results were confirmed in tissue samples taken from patients as they underwent surgery for other intestinal disorders.

“The findings suggest that supplementing the diet with broccoli/plantain fibers might prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease,” the authors say in a statement. “The results could have further implications for the treatment of Crohn’s disease as many enteral feeds — nutrition mixtures used for tube-feeding of patients — contain emulsifiers and could account for variable responses to this type of treatment.”