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Plantain and Broccoli May Inhibit Crohn's Relapse, Polysorbate 80 May Increase Risks


Naples, Florida
Background Crohn's disease is common in developed nations where the typical diet is low in fibre and high in processed food. Primary lesions overlie Peyer's patches and colonic lymphoid follicles where bacterial invasion through M-cells occurs. We have assessed the effect of soluble non-starch polysaccharide (NSP) and food emulsifiers on translocation of Escherichia coli across M-cells.

Methods To assess effects of soluble plant fibres and food emulsifiers on translocation of mucosa-associated E coli isolates from Crohn's disease patients and from non-Crohn's controls, we used M-cell monolayers, generated by co-culture of Caco2-cl1 and Raji B cells, and human Peyer's patches mounted in Ussing chambers.


E coli translocation increased across M-cells compared to parent Caco2-cl1 monocultures; 15.8-fold (IQR 6.2–32.0) for Crohn's disease E coli (N=8) and 6.7-fold (IQR 3.7–21.0) for control isolates (N=5). Electron microscopy confirmed E coli within M-cells. Plantain and broccoli NSP markedly reduced E coli translocation across M-cells at 5 mg/ml (range 45.3–82.6% inhibition, p<0.01); apple and leek NSP had no significant effect. Polysorbate-80, 0.01% vol/vol, increased E coli translocation through Caco2-cl1 monolayers 59-fold (p<0.05) and, at higher concentrations, increased translocation across M-cells. Similarly, E coli translocation across human Peyer's patches was reduced 45±7% by soluble plantain NSP (5 mg/ml) and increased 2-fold by polysorbate-80 (0.1% vol/vol).


Translocation of E coli across M-cells is reduced by soluble plant fibres, particularly plantain and broccoli, but increased by the emulsifier Polysorbate-80. These effects occur at relevant concentrations and may contribute to the impact of dietary factors on Crohn's disease pathogenesis.
Snipped from the "Discussion" area of the full article:

Soluble plant fibres, particularly those present in plantain and broccoli, are shown to inhibit translocation of Crohn's mucosa-associated E coli isolates across M-cells, at concentrations that should be readily achievable in vivo. This implies that dietary supplementation with such fibres might have a protective effect against Crohn's disease relapse by preventing bacterial invasion of the mucosa. NSP from plantain, as from other plant sources, might also have a conventional prebiotic effect via encouragement of probiotic bacteria that would not be relevant to the effects seen in these in vitro models. We feel that the ability of soluble plant fibres to block epithelial attachment and translocation by bacteria may be at least as important as any prebiotic effect, particularly in the small intestine. It also suggests that further investigation is warranted to assess whether soluble dietary fibre might have a more generalised beneficial effect on intestinal health, including bowel cancer and diarrhoeal disease, as a consequence of this ability to block interaction between intestinal bacteria and the epithelium.
The full article

Polysorbate-80 is a COMMON ingredient in processed foods, it is an emulsifier.

Fun fact: one of the inactive ingredients of Remicade is Polysorbate-80 :ybatty:

It's interesting that one of the foods so many here turn to in a bad flare is bananas. However, you MAY want to try plantains instead (I realize that's not exactly what this article is saying) just as an experiment as there IS a difference. Or eat them when you're doing well to help you stay well.

What is a Plantain?

Plantains are a member of the banana family. They are a starchy, low in sugar variety that is cooked before serving as it is unsuitable raw. It is used in many savory dishes somewhat like a potato would be used and is very popular in Western Africa and the Caribbean countries. It is usually fried or baked.

Plantains are native to India and are grown most widely in tropical climates. Plantains are sometimes referred to as the pasta and potatoes of the Caribbean. Sold in the fresh produce section of the supermarket, they usually resemble green bananas but ripe plantains may be black in color. This vegetable-banana can be eaten and tastes different at every stage of development. The interior color of the fruit will remain creamy, yellowish or lightly pink. When the peel is green to yellow, the flavor of the flesh is bland and its texture is starchy. As the peel changes to brown or black, it has a sweeter flavor and more of a banana aroma, but still keeps a firm shape when cooked.

The plantain averages about 65% moisture content and the banana averages about 83% moisture content. Since hydrolysis, the process by which starches are converted to sugars, acts fastest in fruit of higher moisture content it converts starches to sugars faster in bananas than it does in plantains. A banana is ready to eat when the skin is yellow whereas a plantain is not ready to eat "out of hand" until hydrolysis has progressed to the point where the skin is almost black.

Plantains grow best in areas with constant warm temperatures and protection from strong winds. They have been grown in scattered locations throughout Florida since the 16th century. Because of the occasional freezes, Florida is considered a marginal area for plantain production. They are available year round in the supermarket.
I'm definitely going to have to give plantains a try! Especially since they're easily accessible in Florida :D Thanks for posting!


Naples, Florida
The biggest message I personally get from all of this is to avoid processed foods and additives such as polysorbate-80. My guess is that, over time, we'll find these additives, preservatives, and god know what else they're feeding us are leading to all sort of health problems.


Your Story Forum Monitor
My mother was just telling me about eating plantains after picking up a book about diet options for different illness. Plantains were listed as being very beneficial for those with Crohn's.

Thanks for sharing, David!
Thanks David. For Europeans - the food additive code is E433. Wikipedia says people in Europe and USA consume about 100mg per day.
I am glad you clarified about the plantain. My first thought, I guess because it was paired with broccoli, was of the plantain green leafy plant. Here is a link to Wikpedia, and I guess it is also called plantago. I had recently been reading about how good they are for you!


I wonder if we like processed food because we crave the poisons in them? Sometimes we desire what is bad for our bodies. I am doing better with my diet, but still haven't completely converted.
In general, processed foods are "designed" to appeal to our taste buds (sweet, salty, etc.). The food companies do this so they're able to sell more junk.
This is a great article.
I was in Ghana, West Africa for 3 months earlier this year where plantains are a diet staple. Before going I was a little nervous about how my Crohn's would do with the change in food. For the entire time I was there I had not one single Crohn's symptom. Now I realize it's probably because I was eating plantains for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!!


The Prettiest Princess
fried/grilled plantains are really good with fresh salsa. You can also slice them up thinner and bake them to make chips. They don't have quite as much flavor as banana, but it's a similar taste.
Wow jenjen! Once you left Ghana, did your lack of symptoms persist or did they come back? If they did come back, after how long?
My sx started back up about a month after I got back and have been ramping up to the flare I'm currently in right now. I think I'll go buy some plantains today. :ysmile:
this is incredibly interesting to me!! thanks for posting, David! you've always got great info.

i LOVE steamed broccoli. never tried plantains. i am definitely going to look for them....but they might be pretty pricey here in Washington state. i dunno.
Interesting about the plantains! Can't say I eat much processed food as I seem to be sensitive to almost everything! I'm looking forward to trying plantains! Hopefully I do ok with them though cause bananas give me headaches. :( We really like broccoli.
Trying to find these things in Belgium but haven't had any luck, I asked someone to keep an eye out if he sees them. Otherwise I might just ask them to order them for me. Normal grocery stores do not have these at all.

The brocoli dose they used in mice was really high though, unless you decide to eat a few tons of brocoli a day it doesn't help. There was a company who was going to make a concentrate though.

Plantain does help by just eating it.

edit: "could help"


Naples, Florida
The brocoli dose they used in mice was really high though, unless you decide to eat a few tons of brocoli a day it doesn't help. There was a company who was going to make a concentrate though.
Try to find organic broccoli sprouts. Most of the goodness in highly concentrated form without all the tough fiber. I put them on sandwiches and they're wonderful!
This paper was so long so I started to write my summary, gonna just copy paste it if anyone doesn't feel like reading it.


*E Coli overabundance, specifically invasive E coli (AIEC)


*E Coli strains isolated from 6 CD patients (cultured overnight), E coli HM615 was selected
*Control: 5 patients without CD

*Plantain NSP preparations from plant based soluable fibre (from Provexis PLC, UK) in concentrations within the limit achievable by dietary supplementation


*Food emulsifiers used in the food industry, polysorbate 60, polysorbate 80


*Observation of E Coli 605 translocation across M cells without supplements
*Observation of inhibition of invasion and adhesion of E Coli across M cells after 50 mg/ml of Plantain NSP
*Similar inhibition of invasion and adhesion after broccoli at greater or equal of 0.5 mg/ml

*E coli translocation increased with polysorbate 80

About that recent article that said vaccinations might have triggered the onset of crohn's, I don't remember where I saw it, polysorbate 80 is found in vaccinations, was that the reason? Would be pretty ridiculous if the reason that people in Africa don't have crohn's is because they don't get vaccinated as much.

Also, we should make a list of foods that are filled with polysorbate 80.
Ok, the reason for the broccoli effect is the Sulforaphane concentration in it I think, I don't know why that article doesn't mention that. Sulforaphane concentrate is available as a supplement and quite harmless afaik. I asked someone for some more info.
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Kiny - good ideas about a list of foods with polysorbate. I couldn't find one quickly but it looks like it's in A LOT of things! Label reading. I haven't had a vaccine since I was 5 so I don't think that's too big of a factor.

My husband's been making me yummy plantain dishes the last couple days. So far no headaches from it (banana allergy). My daughter loves it too - my little fruit monster.
I like cutting plantains in 1/2 inch rounds, dusting in equal parts cloves and cinnamon, and adding sprinkles of turbinado sugar. Then fry in coconut oil on medium heat for 8-10 min, flipping once. After that, I added the plantains to a can of (BPA-free, at least--but who knows the substitute) Eden Foods Curried Rice and Lentils. I assure, this is very tasty!

On the broccoli front, most supplements are expensive. I occasionally take Broccomax.
nice! my background is jamaican, and i'm a big fan of plantain - it's a typical side dish in my culture... also, anytime i have veggies, my favourite is broccoli and red pepper... maybe the peppers aren't good? but i love red pepper lol
Do you need to wait until the plantains are ripe before cooking them, as I understand they are sweeter when ripe. I don't have a clue how to prepare them.
i eat cooked broccoli everyday, because it make's me feel good. perhap sits helping my crohns then too!!

id try eating plantian but i recall there still is a bit of sucrose in those. which is not good for crohn's.
polysorbate?heh, inactive in regards to what??

id like to know what ingredient in lialda is worsening and or causing joint pain in me, as it resides when i stop taking it.
Polysorbate 60/80 a subject dear to my heart as well as all food emulsifiers as well as lecithin. Peg 6/12 in toothpaste,CMC,gums ect.
We also have dishwashing detergents, clothes washing detergents,shampoo and what ever else contains detergents that we can ingest or absorb through the skin/mouth.
Anyway polysorbate is a polyethylene glycol ester or sorbitan.
If it can make it through the stomach without hydrolysis then it can still act as a emulsifier when it hits the small intestine,then help to translocate bacteria.
If it is destroyed in the stomach then there is free PEG,the free peg depending on mol weight can coat food particles/and help them to penetrate the mucus,this may also apply to bacteria. I have a few threads on this.
Of course polysorbate was not around in the 1920'/30's when crohns started to increase but in food lecithin was.
But then again lecithin was not in foods prior to 1920 in England where IBD started to increase around 1900 or so,but saccharin was,also massive air and I guess water pollution, also perhaps the switch from fermented bread to bakers yeast. One of the reasons they perhaps cant figure out IBD is that multiple time varying sources of gut disruption is going on.
Old Mike
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Where in the paper is the dose of broccoli required to give levels above 0.5mg/ml? Surely it can't be that high compared to plantains?

"Likewise, broccoli NSP significantly inhibited bacterial translocation across M-cells in a dose-dependent manner, at concentrations of ≥ 0.5 mg/mL (figure 3B)."

With the plantains it says:

10 g fibre/day would produce NSP concentrations of 10 and 7.5 mg/ml in the caecum and rectum respectively.

Would 10g of broccoli produce similar levels? is there somewhere to find this out?
Where in the paper is the dose of broccoli required to give levels above 0.5mg/ml? Surely it can't be that high compared to plantains?

"Likewise, broccoli NSP significantly inhibited bacterial translocation across M-cells in a dose-dependent manner, at concentrations of ≥ 0.5 mg/mL (figure 3B)."

With the plantains it says:

10 g fibre/day would produce NSP concentrations of 10 and 7.5 mg/ml in the caecum and rectum respectively.

Would 10g of broccoli produce similar levels? is there somewhere to find this out?
I remember the author said you needed to eat a few trucks full of brocoli to get the same effect as for the plantain.

I managed to find a plantains sellers ! however, it got me thinking...

1. If I get it right, the good quality of the plantain regarding us crohnies is that it is extermely fibrous; then, on the other hand, won't it be very hard to digest ? many of us do not handle raw fruit/veg very well, especially those that are rich in fibres...
Am I missing something ?

2. Have any of you tried them out ? Did they agree with you ? Have you noticed any improvements ?

any comments and additional info. wil be mich appreciated :)

Thanks All


Naples, Florida
Plantains should ALWAYS be cooked.

I personally let them get VERY ripe then cut then into 1/4 inch slices. Coat them in coconut oil and bake them at 8-10 minutes per side.

You can fry them when they are green (google for "tostones") but I personally don't do that.
We got some plantain flour off Amazon and made some tasty pancakes with them. But my husband is worried about a lectin found in bananas and plantains called banlec. Does anyone here have the technical know-how to assess whether banana lectin could pose a problem for someone with Crohn's?
OMG. 99% of various diet theories and recommendations are total @#$%. Most of them are nothing but hobbies or distractions that make you think you are doing something for your health.

So just try some plantains and don't worry, enjoy. I like the frozen sliced ripe "Platanos Maduros" - no worries about ripeness, easy to cook - just cover and heat in a microwave. For some reason they taste really good with the Thai peanut sauce I buy at Target.

Broccoli - YECH. I get acute stomach pains, gas. Avoid at all costs along with cauliflower and brussel sprouts.
I don't know about 99%, but of course many diet theories are nonsense.

That said, four months ago we started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for the benefit of my daughter, who has Crohn's. We had been trying a lot of different approaches, none of which helped. Within days -- actually TWO DAYS -- all her symptoms were gone. Her bloodwork has gone back to normal. Not barely normal, GOOD normal. She tapered easily off Prednisone and later we dropped all her other meds except for a few vitamins. The word "miracle" is not too strong for how we feel about this diet.

I have changed from completely skeptical about alternative approaches, to the realization that they work for some people. Of course SCD has good science behind it, and that makes a difference (compared, say, with the diet based on foods mentioned in the Bible, or "this herb looks like a human heart so it must be beneficial for heart disease."


Forum Monitor
I steam the heck out of broccoli - I eat it all the time.

Can you eat plantain like a banana or does it need more to eat?

I just answered my own question.

Lady Organic

Staff member
Interesting thread as I am 100% pro-nutrition and 100% anti-artificial food... vegetables and fibers are protective of disease and many different types of cancers and I encourage everyone to eat them as much as possible.

One little thing about plaintain... Plantain contains a high amount asparagine, a amino acid that when cooked above 120 degree celcius, transforms with Maillard reaction into Acrylamids, glycotoxins which are pro-inflammatory or cancerogenic. Few other vegetables like corn and potatoes also have the same problem and must be cooked at low temperature to minimize acrylamid formation. To avoid acrylamid formation in these specific vegetables and fish or meat, it is best to boild them on stove top, as water cant go over 100 Celcius.

here is some general explanation about asparagine on wiki : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagine

and about acrylamids : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylamide
I am sorry for this really silly question..but i dont know what is a plantain ? I googled and I see unripe bananas. is it the same?