People who suffer from stomach ulcers should consider tucking into a pint of fresh strawberries, particularly if the inflammation is related to excessive alcohol consumption, suggests a new study.
The new research, published in the journal PLoS One (Public Library of Science) and announced Tuesday, found that the powerful antioxidant properties of strawberries can act as a protective barrier to stomach ulcers.
In their study, a team of scientists from Italy, Serbia and Spain put a group of rats on a diet that included strawberry extracts for 10 days, before inducing gastric damage by giving the animals ethanol.
Rats that ate strawberry extract were found to have less ulcerations by about 40 mg/day per kilo of weight, compared to those that didn't.
Not only did the strawberries' antioxidant capacity help strengthen the stomach lining, but they were also found to activate the body's own defenses and enzymes, researchers said. Eating strawberries can also help alleviate damage either before or after the onset of inflammation.
The new findings could pave the way for new protective ulcer treatments.
Ulcers can be caused by alcohol consumption, viral infections or medications like aspirin.
Researchers pointed out, however, that their study was not conceived to mitigate the effects of getting drunk, but to discover new ways of protecting the stomach against damage.
Previous studies have also shown that strawberries can strengthen red blood cells' response to oxidative stress, which is often a precursor to cancer and other chronic diseases.