Strawberries could shield stomach from effects of alcohol

 
By Shayna Brouker • Published: January 9th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Did you down a few too many flutes of champagne on New Year’s Eve? This year and next New Year’s, resolve to outweigh the ill effects of too much alcohol with a few more strawberries than flutes. That’s right — the sweet little strawberry may have the strength to protect your stomach lining from the erosive effects of alcohol.

Serbian and Spanish researchers found that strawberries’ antioxidants and their ability to activate enzymes in the body protect the stomach’s mucous membrane. Alcohol consumption, viral infections and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, like aspirin, can all irritate stomach lining.

During the study, scientists gave ethanol to lab rats, treating some with a strawberry extract first. The rats that got the strawberries suffered less damage than the other rodents.

Though the study was performed on rats, the researchers believe a diet high in strawberries could similarly stall the formation of stomach ulcers in humans. Ulcers are sores that form when acid breaks down the protective lining of the stomach.

If left untreated, ulcers can get worse and potentially turn into cancer.

This isn’t the first time strawberries have been found to fight acid-related illnesses. A study from the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Care Center found that freeze-dried strawberries slowed the growth of precancerous lesions in the throat, possibly preventing esophageal [es-sof-oh-JEE-uhl] cancer. In their freeze-dried form, strawberries have 10 times the cancer-fighting nutrients.

A diet high in a wide variety fruits and vegetables, though, is best for fighting cancer. Though most ulcers are caused by an infection, taking it easy on aspirin and ibuprofen could help keep them from forming. As for dealing with that hangover? Better to just sleep it off. No amount of strawberries can help you now.