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This article originally posted and appeared in  DietIssue 597

Eat Cabbage for a Strong Gut

One more reason to eat your greens. Veggies in the cabbage family, from broccoli to bok choy, play a key role in keeping the gut healthy. These cruciferous vegetables are an important source of a compound that activates an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) needed by the specialized intraepithelial lymphocyte immune cells that patrol the intestinal wall. In experiments, mice fed a diet that didn't supply AhR activators showed an increased bacterial load in the intestine and colon, leading to accumulation of lymphocytes associated with colitis. While the mechanism would need to be confirmed in humans, it supports "the importance of cruciferous vegetable-derived phytonutrients as part of a healthy diet in sustaining important elements of the immune system and in controlling bacterial colonization," said the investigators, led by Marc Veldhoen, PhD, of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London. Cell Oct. 2011



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This article originally posted 28 October, 2011 and appeared in  DietIssue 597

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