European researchers in an experimental animal study confirmed that strawberries have a protecting effect in stomachs that have been damaged by alcohol.

The study was published in the journal Plos One.

Researchers gave drinking alcohol (ethanol) to lab rats and found those that have previously eaten strawberry extract suffered less stomach damage.

Dr. Sara Tulipani, a University of Barcelona researcher and co-author of the study found that strawberries could slow down the formation of stomach ulcers in humans.

"The positive effects of strawberries are not only linked to their antioxidant capacity and high content of phenolic compounds (anthocyans) but also to the fact that they activate the antioxidant defenses and enzymes of the body,” she said.

Researchers found less ulcers and stomach mucus membrane damage in rats that ate strawberry extract of 40 milliliters (ml)/day per kilogram of weight, for 10 days before given alcohol.

Alcohol can cause harmful health effects in the stomach lining. These can include gastritis, an inflammation of the lining which causes swelling and raw areas that can bleed. Another effect can be gastric ulcers, which occur when the lining becomes weak and develops holes.

"This study was not conceived as a way of mitigating the effects of getting drunk but rather as a way of discovering molecules in the stomach membrane that protect against the damaging effects of differing agents,” said Maurizio Battino, coordinator of the research group at the Marche Polytechnic University (UNIVPM, Italy)

Researchers of the study stated that a diet rich in strawberries can have a beneficial effect; the fruit could slow down the formation of stomach ulcers in humans and a compound found within strawberries could be the answer.