Cut fresh natural green broccoli
If you haven’t had your weekly dose of broccoli in a while, you might want to add it to your regular food shop.
Scientists have discovered that a molecule in broccoli links with the small intestine’s lining and wards off disease progression – which highlights how the “superfood” helps with gut health.
What’s more, other studies have shown the benefits of adding broccoli to your diet such as limiting the risk of diseases like cancer and Type 2 diabetes.
According to new research published in the journal Laboratory Investigation, broccoli contains certain molecules that can help protect the lining of the small intestine in mice.
“Our research is helping to uncover the mechanisms for how broccoli and other foods benefit health in mice and likely humans, as well,” said Dr Gary Perdew, co-author of the study, from Penn State University in the US.
“It provides strong evidence that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts should be part of a normal healthy diet.”
The small intestine’s wall is known for allowing beneficial substances such as water and nutrients to move into the body, while preventing food particles and bacteria that could cause harm.
According to Dr Perdew, certain cells that line the intestine help to modulate this activity and keep a healthy balance.
Molecules in broccoli – which have a very fancy name: aryl hydrocarbon receptor ligands – attach to a type of protein in the body called AHR, which initiates a range of activities that affect the functions of intestinal cells.
Scientists fed a group of mice a diet containing 15% broccoli – which is equivalent to about 3.5 cups per day for humans – and fed a control group of mice a regular lab diet without broccoli.
The mice that were not fed broccoli lacked AHR activity which led to an altered intestinal barrier function – and not in a good way.
“The gut health of the mice that were not fed broccoli was compromised in a variety of ways that are known to be associated with disease,” said Dr Perdew.
“Our research suggests that broccoli and likely other foods can be used as natural sources of AHR ligands, and that diets rich in these ligands contribute to the resilience of the small intestine.”