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Could This Superfood Protect Your Gut Health?

Could This Superfood Protect Your Gut Health?

How often do you eat broccoli? (Your responses to this question can range from every day! to no comment!)

No matter how much you love broccoli (or not), health experts consider it a superfood — a natural food that features an array of nutrients your body needs every day, including Vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium and dietary fiber — which is always good for the health of your gut.

A recent study from Penn State University has discovered a new reason to eat broccoli related to protecting your gut health.


Protection From Leaky Gut

If your intestinal wall is healthy, the cells lining it allow water and nutrients to pass into your body safely and screen out undigested food, toxins and other bugs from harming your health, protecting you from problems related to leaky gut.

Some cells lining the intestines absorb water and nutrients (enterocytes) while others secrete a layer of mucus to protect the intestines from being overly permeable (goblet cells) and generate digestive enzymes that maintain a healthy, balanced environment (Paneth cells).

Penn State researchers tested the health benefits of broccoli by comparing the health of mice that were fed a daily diet that included the equivalent of 3.5 cups of broccoli a day for humans to a control group fed a typical lab diet.

Then, they examined the bodies of these test animals for signs of molecular signaling from a specific protein (aryl hydrocarbon receptor or AHR) and often it was activated.

Unsurprisingly, the guts of mice on a high broccoli diet had higher amounts of AHR that protected their tiny bodies from harm.

On the other hand, “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,” says Dr. Gary Perdew, who works in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Studies.


Good News For Broccoli Haters

All of this news is good if you enjoy cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and even Brussels sprouts. But there are limits, as you may remember in our recent article on tomatoes.

No matter how good a specific food is for your health, the challenge remains eating enough of that one thing every day to make a real difference. A better, healthier approach is to eat a fiber-rich diet, which takes about 1 ounce (30 grams) daily to do the job.

If you’re not crazy about broccoli and want to protect your gut health, consider taking a daily probiotic formulated with 10 lab-tested strains of beneficial bacteria and a proven prebiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.



Laboratory Investigation

Penn State University


Harvard Health Publishing

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