Broccoli may help control bowel disease

Plantain and broccoli fibre could help to prevent relapses of Crohn's disease, research out today suggests.

Crohn's is a long-term condition which causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system, with symptoms including diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

There are 90,000 people in the UK known to be living with the disease, although campaigners believe the number could be higher.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The incidence of Crohn's is rising worldwide and is most common in developed countries like the UK, where the typical diet is low in fibre and high in processed foods.

Countries such as Japan have seen a rapid rise in cases, blamed on the introduction of a "Western diet".

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.

Plantain and broccoli soluble fibre reduced transmission of E.coli by between 45 per cent and 82 per cent. Fat emulsifiers increased transmission of the bacteria.

The research is published today in the journal Gut.