Reports from national health authorities show increasing incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases have been noted almost globally. The highest rates were observed mostly in the urban areas of industrialized countries in Europe (France, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Scandinavia) and some regions of New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. Inflammatory bowel diseases are among the most serious and perplexing of digestive disorders. It is accepted that environmental, immunologic and genetic factors play a role in the occurrence of these diseases.
Nature and Types of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Inflammatory bowel diseases are chronic disorders in which the intestines (bowels) become inflamed causing recurring abdominal cramps and diarrhea. These disorders include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, proctitis (inflammation and ulceration of the rectum), and antibiotic-associated colitis which refers to the inflammation of the large intestines due to the use of antibiotics. This article focuses on crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation of the intestinal wall. Symptoms include: tenderness in the right lower part of the abdomen; acute intestinal obstructions that cause severe spasm of the intestinal wall; swelling of the abdomen; constipation and vomiting; malnutrition and weight loss; abnormal channels (fistula); and pus-filled pockets of infection (abcesses) that causes fever and painful masses in the abdomen.
Crohn’s disease has no known cure. Diarrhea and cramps may be relieved by anticholinergic drugs, methycellulose or psyllium preparations may prevent anal irritation. Antibiotics may be prescribed as well as nutritional preparations in cases of intestinal obstruction. In some cases, total parenteral nutrition is required to enhance the body’s absorption of nutrients.
Ulcerative colitis on the other hand, is a chronic disorder in which the large intestine becomes inflamed and ulcerated leading to periodic bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Colitis never affects the small intestines. It begins in the lower end of the large intestine and spreads partially or completely through the large intestines. Symptoms include sudden and severe violent diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and peritonitis (inflammation of the lining of the abdomen).
People with ulcerative colitis should avoid raw fruits, vegetables, and dairy to reduce injury to the inflamed lining of the intestines. Milk and dairy products leave a “residue” when digested; much like roughage. In treating both of these diseases, physician consultation is always mandatory.
How Phenolic Compounds in Apple Juice Prevents Inflammation
The apple, or MalusdomesticaBorkh, is of the most widely cultivated fruits world wide. Malus – pronounced :MAH-loos doh-mehs-tee-kah; the “a” is a short “a” as in Adam- contains 17 anti-inflammatory compounds. They include:
- alpha-linoleic acid
- ascorbic acid
- caffeic acid
- chlorogenic acid
- ferulic acid
- monounsaturated fatty acid or oleic acid
- procyanidins B1 and B2
- protechatehic acid
- ursolic acid
Of these anti-inflammatory compounds, Erkel and his team found that procyanidins and phloretin were most effective in preventing the inflammatory gene expression of immunorelevant human cell lines DLD-1, T84, MonoMac6, and Jurkat.
Procyanidin B2, procyanidin B1, and phloretin inhibited in vitro inflammation by preventing the expression of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kB) regulated proinflammatory genes which include tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), interleukin 1-beta (IL-1B), CXCL9, and CXCL10.
These phenolic compounds also down-regulated the activity of inflammatory enzymes COX-2 and CYP3A4, and the transcription factors STAT-1 and IRF-1 in stimulated MonoMac cells without significant effect on the expression of housekeeping genes.
The researchers concluded that procyanidin B1, procyanidin B2, and phloretin may serve as transcription-based inhibitors of proinflammatory gene expression. Apple juice is an inexpensive, widely, and readily-available food item that can be used as an alternative treatment in the management of inflammatory bowel diseases.
Best Resveratrol Sources from Red Wine to Grape Juice and Beyond
Most people who are up to date on health and nutrition have heard plenty about resveratrol, the antioxidant found in dark colored grapes and wine. Although wine lovers say a daily glass of red wine is the best way to prevent heart problems, cancer and even signs of aging, there are many healthier resveratrol sources.
Resveratrol is a Powerful Antioxidant
What is resveratrol? This natural chemical is one of many antioxidants found in grapes and other dark-colored fruits that protect cells against damage. Antioxidant foods and supplements are big business in the world of natural health, because they are so powerful at fighting aging, cancer, and other kinds of cellular damage.
Resveratrol, in particular, is known for delivering a number of health benefits:
- protects against free radical damage
- inhibits the growth and spread of cancer
- lowers blood pressure
- combats heart disease by improving blood vessel elasticity and reducing the risk of blood clots
- lowers levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol
- stops inflammation
- combats inflammatory disease like appendicitis, peritonitis, and sepsis
- may prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative mental illnesses
Is Red Wine the Best Resveratrol Source?
Resveratrol is found in high concentration in grape skins and seeds, and it’s soluble in alcohol, making it easy for the body to absorb it from red wine. But the effects of alcohol on the liver, skin, and other parts of the human body mean that wine isn’t necessarily the best way to get a daily dose of this antioxidant.
What’s more, most studies on resveratrol have been done on mice. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, a human would need to drink 100 to 1,000 bottles of red wine per day to get the same amount of resveratrol by mass as the mice were given.
Is the best option, then, resveratrol supplements? Not necessarily. Because this antioxidant is so effective against so many health issues, resveratrol supplements are widely available, but natural antioxidant sources are generally thought to be best. Natural, unprocessed antioxidant foods are safer than supplements, easier to digest, and they deliver other benefits in addition to resveratrol, such as digestive enzymes and essential vitamins and minerals.
Best Resveratrol Antioxidant Foods
Which foods have the most resveratrol? There are plenty of options, from the resveratrol in grape juice and berries to other favorite foods like:
- cocoa and dark chocolate
- Japanese knotweed
For those who prefer supplements, make sure to choose one that contains whole grape skins and muscadine grape seeds, since that’s where the resveratrol is concentrated.