PH888/ShutterstockBroccoli haters might want to rethink their aversion to this cruciferous veggie. For starters, broccoli is jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamin E, potassium, fiber, and magnesium. All of those vitamins and minerals have loads of benefits, too, including reducing high blood pressure, managing Type 2 diabetes, and preventing cancer. No wonder broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat!
But the list doesn’t stop there. A new study published in the Journal of Functional Foods suggests that this superfood can also work wonders for your gut health and digestion.
In their experiment, Penn State researchers added broccoli to the normal diets of half of their mice. The mice who ate broccoli were able to tolerate symptoms similar to that of leaky gut and colitis better than mice that were not on a broccoli-supplemented diet. These findings could have huge implications for those who suffer from issues with their gut, researchers say.
“There are a lot of reasons we want to explore helping with gastrointestinal health and one reason is if you have problems, like a leaky gut, and start to suffer inflammation, that may then lead to other conditions, like arthritis and heart disease,” Gary Perdew, professor of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State, said in a statement. “Keeping your gut healthy and making sure you have good barrier functions so you’re not getting this leaky effect would be really big.”
But why is broccoli so effective? As the research team explains it, cruciferous veggies like broccoli contain an organic chemical compound called indole glucosinolates that breaks down into other compounds like indolocarbazole (ICZ) in the stomach. ICZ contributes to maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which could help prevent diseases caused by inflammation in the lining of the gut, such as Crohn’s Disease and certain types of cancers. Keep an eye out for the clear signs you have an unhealthy gut.
Perdew recommends eating about 3.5 cups of broccoli each day to reap the rewards of this wonder veggie. While that might seem like you’re overdoing it, veggies like brussels sprouts contain three times as much ICZ—meaning that just one cup of Brussels sprouts can do the trick, too.
Bottom line: Good gut health could be only a plate of these probiotic foods away.