From Yahoo News - Thursday 26th August 2010
The research tested a range of soluble plant fibre to judge their effect on Crohn's disease. Soluble plant fibre is the kind which comes out of vegetables when they are boiled in water.
The research found that soluble fibre from plantain and broccoli specifically stopped the bacteria E.coli from crossing into cells in the intestine.
Professor Jonathan Rhodes, from the University School of Clinical Sciences in Liverpool, who worked on the study, said: "What's interesting about this paper is that it shows, for the first time, that soluble plant fibre is able to stop bacteria from finding its way through the lining of the intestine."
Plantain and broccoli soluble fibre reduced transmission of E.coli by between 45% and 82%. Fibre from leek and apple had no effect while fat emulsifiers increased transmission of the bacteria.
The laboratory research, published in the journal Gut, was confirmed in tissue samples taken from patients undergoing surgery for other gut disorders. Prof Rhodes and his colleagues are now carrying out a clinical trial involving 76 sufferers of Crohn's to test the effect in people. "It may be that it makes sense for sufferers of Crohn's to take supplements of these fibres to help prevent relapse," he said.
The authors noted that India and Central America, where plantains form an central part of the diet, have low rates for inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.