Scientists have discovered a link between high numbers of E. coli bacteria and colon cancer as well as the inflammatory bowel diseases Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Not only are E. coli levels high but they encode a toxin that damages the DNA in the cells of the gut lining. Approximately 66% of people with inflammatory bowel diseases and colon cancer carry E. coli compared to 20% in those who have a healthy colon. This isnt just any old E. coli though. Its E. coli that contains pks genes.
Dr Barry Campbell, co-author of the research at the University of Liverpool, said: “The research suggests that E. Coli has a much wider involvement in the development of colon cancer than previously thought. It is important to build on these findings to understand why this type of bacteria, containing the pks genes, is present in some people and not others.”
What is really fascinating is that these researchers also discovered that processed food actually encourages the movement of E. coli bacteria through cells. If E. coli bacteria moves through cells it will have a more detrimental affect. On the other hand plantain and broccoli prevent the uptake and transport of E. coli bacteria through cells. This is due to their particular soluble plant fibres (leeks and apples didn’t have the same effects). The chemicals in processed food that were researched in this study were polysorbate 60 & 80. 80 being the detrimental one in this case.
Polysorbate 80 is an emulsifier – a chemical that surrounds a substance so that it is stable and can balance inside another substance. It is often used in ice cream to surround and keep the milk proteins separate from the fat globules but allowing them to balance in air, so it’s all one lovely creamy texture (See D in the image to the right). The opposite to how olive oil and balsamic vinegar separate when you combine them (See A in the image to the right).
So if you want to have a healthy colon it appears sensible to reduce your processed food intake and increase your vegetable intake.
Do you find it difficult to reduce your processed food intake? I’ve just started using a spiralizer that I find helps replace processed pasta with vegetables. That’s just one way I manage it. How about you?