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 cancer.

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.

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