Vegetables are essential in a healthy diet. Consuming it regularly provides a variety of nutrients that can help prevent disease. They are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and potassium.These nutrients play a vital role in good health strengthen immune system, making the body more resistant to infection. That’s why vegetables are a great ally in preventing colds and flu.But it’s one thing that they strengthen defenses, and there’s scientific evidence that they can prevent lung infection.
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have demonstrated the potential of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale in protecting our bodies from lung infections.The research results were published in lancet.
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Protects the lungs from viruses and bacteria
The discovery revolves around a protein called the “aryl hydrocarbon receptor,” or AHR, which is found in the barrier of the gut and lungs.It turns out that molecules present in cruciferous vegetables act as Ligand AHR’s diet. Simply put, these molecules bind to the AHR protein and activate the protein once we consume them.
While the relationship between AHR and immune system cells has been widely studied, this study revealed a surprising new aspect: AHR is highly active in endothelial cells of blood vessels in the lungs. These cells are essential because they form a barrier between our body and the outside air. This barrier must allow oxygen to enter, but at the same time, Protect us from pollution, viruses and bacteria.
Andreas Wack, who led the study, said the discovery represents a change in perspective on protecting this barrier. Until recently, protection of this barrier was usually studied in terms of immune system cells, but now we know that AHR plays an important role in maintaining the lung barrier via endothelial cells, which are affected during infection.And it seems Cruciferous favor this protective effect.
Cruciferous plants fight flu and colds
To reach these conclusions, the research team conducted a series of studies mouse experiment. When they infected mice with influenza virus, they found that blood in the air spaces in the lungs leaked through the barrier. However, AHR prevents this barrier from becoming permeable. Most surprisingly, mice with increased AHR activity did not lose as much weight during influenza infection and were more resistant to bacterial infection, even though they were already fighting the virus. This effect was only observed in mice that consumed AHR ligand through diet, or in other words, Substances present in Brassicaceae plants. This highlights the relationship between diet and response to viral infection.
In the words of Andreas Wacker, “Eating cruciferous vegetables is important to prevent colds and flu and reduce symptoms if you are sick”.
Healthy ingredients in cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous plants belong to the Brassicaceae family and include vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and radishes. They contain a variety of protective substances that are beneficial to health.
Glucosinolates: They are compounds found in cruciferous plants that have anti-cancer properties. When consumed, glucosinolates break down into bioactive compounds such as isothiocyanates, which may help prevent the growth of cancer cells.
3-indolemethanol: This compound is formed from glucosinolates and has been studied for its potential role in preventing cancer, particularly in hormone-dependent cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.
sulforaphane: It is an isothiocyanate found in many cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli. Sulforaphane has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been studied for its potential in preventing cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
Dietary fiber: Cruciferous vegetables are a good source of dietary fiber, important for digestive health and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
vitamins and minerals: These vegetables are rich in vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, as well as minerals like potassium and magnesium, which are important for overall health.