Add This Fruit To Your Diet For Better Gut Health

Photo: Jill Chen

Recently, gut health has taken over the wellness world—it's been credited with everything from boosting the immune system and banishing bloat to preventing chronic disease. Everyone seems to be popping a daily probiotic, scarfing down sauerkraut, and chugging kombucha—all in the name of gut health. But if you are really looking to up your gut-health game, there is one fruit in particular you should add to your plate: strawberries.

In a new study, presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, strawberries were found to restore balance in the gut and ease symptoms of irritable bowel disease (IBD). To find this out, researchers fed a group of healthy mice a regular diet, and three groups of mice with IBD were fed varying amounts of whole strawberry powder. The researchers specifically chose to use whole strawberry powder, rather than purified compounds or extracts, to mimic normal consumption.

Mice with IBD that were fed whole strawberry powder saw significant improvements in IBD symptoms, including weight loss, bloody diarrhea, and colonic inflammation. In addition, there was a reduction in the number of harmful bacteria present in their guts, creating a healthier microbiome composition. Researchers believe this may be because the strawberries are able to affect abnormal metabolic pathways in IBD responsible for colonic inflammation and the associated "bad" bacteria.

The researchers plan to test these results on human IBD patients next, to fully explore the potential healing effects. With over 3 million Americans living with IBD, a condition that encompasses Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and increases the risk for colorectal cancer, this study could have important implications for future treatment therapies.

Although the study focused on the impact of strawberry consumption on IBD, the researchers say it would likely benefit anyone looking to improve or enhance gut health, barring a strawberry allergy. Don't worry, though, you don't have to start eating strawberries for every meal to reap the benefits. The quantity of strawberries the mice were fed translates to just three-quarters of a cup of strawberries a day in humans. A completely reasonable, and delicious, way to boost your microbiome.

If you aren't pickling your strawberries, you are missing out.

And are you inspired to keep moving your health journey forward? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Jason Wachob, Founder & CEO of mindbodygreen.

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