Plaintain and Broccoli are GOOD for people with Crohn’s Disease!

This paper from GUT, which is the British Medical Journal’s gastroenterology journal, caught my eye a few weeks ago. The title ‘Translocation of Crohn’s disease Escherichia coli across M-cells: contrasting effects of soluble plant fibres and emulsifiers’ sounds a bit dry, but if you read the paper you find out some VERY interesting information which I’ll summarise:

Learn to love broccoli

  • Plaintain and Broccoli are GOOD for people with Crohn’s Disease
  • Poly-sorbate 80 (E433) is BAD for people with Crohn’s Disease

The paper explains that Crohn’s disease is common in developed nations where the typical diet is low in fibre and high in processed food. They explain that remission can be acheived through enteric diets and they therefore propose that diet must play some part in the activity of the disease.

The researchers say “It is interesting that parts of the world such as Africa, India and Central America where plantains form an important part of the staple diet have low rates for inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. We have therefore now tested the ability of soluble plant fibres, such as those found in plantain, to block translocation of Crohn’s E coli across M-cells in vitro”.

E-coli is found in greater numbers in the intestinal tissue of Crohn’s patients. E-coli gets into the tissue through M-cells (Microfold cells), but this activity is inhibited in the presence of certain soluble plant fibres  but increased in the presence of low concentrations of an emulsifier that is commonly used in processed foods, poly-sorbate 80.

The researchers state that the “increase in the incidence of Crohn’s disease seen in recent years in Japan correlates with increased fat intake. Although the fat itself may be harmful, it is also possible that increased consumption of emulsifiers contained in processed fatty foods could be a factor”.

Emulsifiers are a permitted food additive which help keep foods together that could seperate e.g. oil and water. Although emulsifiers are probably largely broken down during the human digestive process,there has not been much investigation into their effects on intestinal permeability.

If you read this paper and decide that you would like to avoid the emulsifier mentioned in this paper here are the names it is known by:

  • Polysorbate 80
  • (Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate)
  •  (x)-sorbitan mono-9-octadecenoate poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl)
  • Alkest TW 80
  • Tween 80
  • POE (80)
  • sorbitan monooleate
  • E433

This paper does leave me with some questions:

  1. Where can I get plantains in Shrewsbury?
  2. Should I avoid E-coli pro-biotics?
  3. What other fruit and vegetables contain high amounts of soluble dietary fibre?

What am I going to do differently as a result of reading this research?

  1. Go through my kitchen cupboards and give away or throw out anything with Poly-sorbate 80 in it.
  2. Put everything with a non-distinct emulsifier ingredient in it in a pile and investigate the origin of the emulsifier
  3. Eat some plantains!
  4. Eat more broccoli!
  5. Investigate the e-coli pro biotic issue
  6. Re-double my efforts to not eat as much pre-prepared processed foods
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3 responses to “Plaintain and Broccoli are GOOD for people with Crohn’s Disease!

  1. I am sure I have seen fresh plantain in Tesco at times. For plantain chips try aisle 18 (Shrewsbury), they usually have them on the Afro-Carribean food shelf 🙂 If you are passing Tesco Wellington it may be worth calling in as the range of food reflects the more diverse population of the area (dry Afro-Carribean food is on the ground level very back left corner of the store and fresh plantain with the standard fruit/veggies).

  2. Thanks Lucy! I will check it out. I’ll also try the market as i am sure I have seen it there too. Looking forward to experimenting with it.

  3. Pingback: Fruits that don’t destroy you if you have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis (apparently) | Work Life Spirit

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