Anti-cancer diet: Eating 420g of CHEAP vegetable could help gut ‘prevent’ cancers

Scientists have discovered that eating broccoli could help promote a healthy gut, and consequently help “prevent” some cancers.

Researchers at Penn State discovered that adding the cheap vegetable into your diet could help digestion and symptoms similar to leaky gut.

Leaky gut is a condition claimed by many to be linked to serious illnesses such as arthritis, Coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

It is also thought to lead to an increased risk of some cancers, with a 2012 study published in PLOS ONE suggesting that a leaky gut may be the root of the condition in certain parts of the body.

“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,” said Gary Perdew, a professor in agricultural sciences at Penn State.

“Keeping your gut healthy and making sure you have good barrier functions so you’re not getting this leaky effect would be really big.”

If you have a good intestinal barrier function it means that the gastrointestinal tract is working properly to help protect the intestines from toxins and harmful microorganisms, but still allowing nutrients to travel through.  

Researchers believe that cruciferous vegetables, which also include brussels sprouts and cauliflower, contain a compound called glucosinolates which is key.

Once broken down it activates a receptor in the intestinal lining which helps maintain a healthy balance in the gut flora, the ability of the immune system to identify cells which can become a problem - such as if they turn cancerous - and enhance barrier function.

In a statement on the research Penn State said: “This may help prevent diseases, such as various cancers and Crohn's Disease, caused by inflammation in the lining of the gut.”

The study was conducted on mice, who were given additional broccoli on top of their regular diet.

However, researchers translated the amount into a human equivalent, estimating the benefits could come from 3.5 cups of broccoli a day - or 420g.

“Now, three and a half cups is a lot, but it’s not a huge amount, really,” said Perdew. 

“We used a cultivar — or variety — with about half the amount of this chemical in it, and there are cultivars with twice as much.

“Also, brussels sprouts have three times as much, which would mean a cup of brussels sprouts could get us to the same level.”



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