Before we go any further, or I suppose even start this story, know that the best health advice is to drink alcohol only in moderation. Drinking too much can lead to a long list of health problems that most of us tend to ignore until it’s too late (see past article The Cancer and Alcohol Link).
But let’s turn from that to a new study that found that a certain fruit we all know could reduce alcohol’s harmful effects on the stomach.
In an experiment, European researchers proved that eating strawberries reduces the harm that alcohol can cause to the stomach’s mucous membrane. It may contribute to improving the treatment of stomach ulcers, for those of us who suffer them.
In the new study, scientists gave ethyl alcohol to laboratory rats and thus saw that the stomach mucous membrane of those that had previously eaten strawberry extract suffered less damage.
The researchers believe that the positive effects of strawberries not only flow from their high antioxidant level and high levels of natural plant chemicals, but also that they activate the antioxidant defenses and enzymes of the body.
The conclusion they draw is that a diet rich in strawberries — which, by the way are one of the healthiest foods around– can have a beneficial effect when it comes to preventing illness in the stomach. This fruit could slow down the formation of stomach ulcers in humans. (Strawberries are part of the world’s healthiest fruit salad. See here: How to Make the World’s Healthiest Fruit Salad)
Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach’s mucous membrane) is related to alcohol consumption primarily. But it can also be caused by viral infections or by everyday painkillers such as aspirin or drugs used to treat “Helicobacter pylori bacteria.” In these cases, eating strawberries during or after drinking or taking the medications could lessen stomach mucous membrane damage.
The team found fewer ulcerations in the stomachs of the rats that had eaten strawberry extract for 10 days before being given alcohol. They stress that the study was not a way to find ways to protect yourself from drinking too much, but rather a way to discover molecules in the stomach that protect it against different things.
In any event, come holiday season or Super Bowl time, perhaps you can work your way up with some strawberries if you intend on indulging in some moderate drinking.
A Fruit That Could Protect Your Stomach
“Strawberry Polyphenols Attenuate Ethanol-Induced
Gastric Lesions in Rats by Activation of Antioxidant
Enzymes and Attenuation of MDA Increase,” Plos One,
6(10): e25878, Oct. 2011.