October 26/Barcelona/International Business Times-- Strawberries, those ruby-red fruits that have always been known to give us antioxidants and vitamin C, now have a new benefit -- treating ulcers.

Proving the wonders of the fruit, a team of Italian, Serbian and Spanish researchers confirmed its beneficial protecting effect in a stomach that has been damaged by alcohol.

Sara Tulipani, co-author of the study and a researcher at the University of Barcelona, explained that the fruit's effects are not only linked to their antioxidant capacity and high content of pigment, but also to its ability to activate the antioxidant defenses and enzymes of the body.

In their experiment, the researchers gave rats a diet of strawberry -- 40mg/day per kilo of weight -- for 10 days before being given ethyl alcohol to mimic the adverse effects of alcohol on stomachs. 

After observation, the research team found less ulcerations in the stomachs of rats given the special diet of strawberries.

"In these cases, the consumption of strawberries during or after pathology could lessen stomach mucous membrane damage," said Maurizio Battino, coordinator of the research group at the March Polytechnic University in Italy.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that a diet rich in strawberries can have a beneficial effect when it comes to preventing gastric illnesses, which could lead to slowing down the formation of stomach ulcers in humans.

However, Battino stressed that their study was not conceived as a way of mitigating the effects of getting drunk, but rather a way of discovering molecules in the stomach membrane that protect it from damaging effects of alcohol.

Inflammation of the stomach mucous membrane, or gastritis, is linked to alcohol consumption but can also come from viral infections.

Current treatment for ulcers revolves around medicine that reduced the amount of acid in the stomach. The researchers said that as of to date, there is a need of new protective medicines with antioxidant properties -- properties found within strawberries.

 From the October 26, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.