Eat blueberries `to prevent colon cancer`

Updated: Feb 10, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: Want to stave off intestinal
diseases like colon cancer? Eat blueberry daily, says a study.

Swedish researchers at Lund University have found that
the fibre in the fruit can help prevent a number of intestinal
diseases like ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel
disease, from developing.

And if taken with probiotics, the good type of
bacteria that can be found in yoghurts, blueberries could even
protect against colon cancer.

The researchers said they carried out this research
to see if various types of fibre and health promoting bacteria
could alleviate the risk of both intestinal disease and bowel

Dr Camilla Branning, the lead author of the study, was
quoted by `The Daily Telegraph` as saying, "New knowledge of
this field is also of interest to those who don`t believe they
run the risk of developing any intestinal diseases.

"In recent years the research world has been realising
that our health is governed to a great extent by what happens
in our large intestine."

For their study, the researchers tested different
types of diets of blueberry husks, rye bran and oat bran with
or without a mixture of probiotic bacteria. The results showed
that the protective effect of blueberries was most evident if
they were eaten together with probiotics.

Added co-researcher Asa Hakansson: "The probiotics
proved to have a protective effect on the liver, an organ that
is often negatively impacted by intestinal inflammations."

According to the researchers, blueberries are rich
in polyphenols - beneficial chemicals found in plants - which
have a bug busting and antioxidative effect.

They found that the combination of blueberries
and probiotics reduced inflammation-inducing bacteria in the
intestine at the same time as the number of health-promoting
bacteria increased.