Broccoli consumption protects gut lining, reduces disease: Study
Broccoli is known to be beneficial to our health. For example, research has shown that increased consumption of the cruciferous vegetable decreases incidences of cancer and type 2 diabetes.
In a recent study, researchers at Pennsylvania State University in the US found that broccoli contains certain molecules that bind to a receptor within mice and help to protect the lining of the small intestine, thereby inhibiting the development of disease.
The findings lend support to the idea that broccoli truly is a "superfood."
“We all know that broccoli is good for us, but why? What happens in the body when we eat broccoli?” said Gary Perdew, H. Thomas and Dorothy Willits Hallowell Chair in Agricultural Sciences, Penn State.
“Our research is helping to uncover the mechanisms for how broccoli and other foods benefit health in mice and likely humans, as well. It provides strong evidence that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts should be part of a normal healthy diet,” Perdew said.
According to Perdew, the wall of the small intestine allows beneficial water and nutrients to pass into the body but prevents food particles and bacteria that could cause harm. Certain cells that line the intestine — including enterocytes, which absorb water and nutrients; goblet cells, which secrete a protective layer of mucus on the intestinal wall; and Paneth cells, which secrete lysosomes that contain digestive enzymes — help to modulate this activity and keep a healthy balance.
What are superfoods
Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods that are believed to offer extraordinary health benefits beyond their basic nutritional value. These foods are often rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which are essential for maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases.
Superfoods can come in many forms and include foods like berries, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, and whole grains. Some well-known superfoods include blueberries, kale, salmon, quinoa, and chia seeds. However, the term “superfood” is not a scientific term, and there is no official list of superfoods.
Many people turn to superfoods as part of a healthy diet to help manage weight, prevent disease, and improve overall health. Some superfoods, like berries and leafy greens, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Others, like nuts and seeds, are a good source of healthy fats, which can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health.
It’s important to note that no single food can provide all the nutrients our bodies need. Instead, a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods is the key to good health. While superfoods can be a great addition to any diet, they should not be relied on as a sole source of nutrition.