- Vegetables aren’t everybody’s favorite, but they are every body’s favorite — especially when it comes to the green ones.
- Green vegetables are home to a number of vital nutrients.
- They also have the ability to keep your digestive tract healthy and potentially cancer free.
- This may not work for everyone, specifically those with IBD. As always, please consult your physician before changing your diet.
Research Shows a Link to Intestinal Health and Cruciferous Green Vegetables
- Cruciferous green vegetables (plants relating to the cabbage family) contain a chemical signal that ensures intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) function properly
- Researchers fed mice a vegetable-free diet for two to three weeks and during that time, 70 percent of the IELs (important for digestive health) disappeared even though all vital minerals and vitamins were provided in the diet.
- IELs are a specialized type of white blood cell that play an important part of gut and skin health. They also help protect against infection and help to heal wounds as well as maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria, and get rid of damaged cells.
- According to the author of this research, Mark Veldhoen, the population of IELs is related to levels of aryl hydrocarbon receptor, a cell-surface protein regulated by a chemical component found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, bok choy and of course cabbage. So, to maintain a good level of IELs, ensure these cruciferous vegetables are in your diet.
- Seventy percent of studies regarding cruciferous vegetables have found them to contain colon cancer-fighting properties according to a research review published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
- The compound sulforaphane contained in cruciferous vegetables stimulates enzymes that detoxify carcinogens before they damage cells and thus help prevent cancer.
- Cruciferous vegetables also reduce free radicals in the body which can in turn lower the risk of cancer — including colon cancer.
They’re Rich in Folate (folic acid)
- Green vegetables — especially leafy greens — are rich in folate
- Researchers found that those animals deficient in folate developed intestinal masses while those fed adequate levels of folate remained free of any tumors.
- Scientists believe that low levels of folate can lead to changes in the chemicals that affect DNA, which may alter how well cells can repair themselves or divide properly and can in turn lead to cancer.
- A large study tracked U.S. nurses from 1980 to 1994 reported that women who took in more than 400 mcg of folic acid per day were much less likely to get colon cancer than those with a lower intake (less than 200 mcg).
Where to Gravitate for Green
Look for green colored vegetables and greens, especially these:
- Kale Has a huge amount nutrients your body needs: vitamins A, C, K as well as calcium, folate and potassium.
- Asparagus Just four spears gives you 85 mcg of folate as well as high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients. Also rich in glutathione, a detoxifying compound that can protect against colon cancer and other cancers. Also high in vitamin K.
- Broccoli As a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli is packed with a number of nutrients such as vitamins K, A, and C, fiber, potassium, folate, lutein, as well as cancer-fighting compounds such as sulforaphane, indole 3-carbinol and crambene.
- Spinach Rich in vitamins A and C, folate, and calcium.
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- Nutritionists say that three cups of vegetables is ideal for adults.
- Next time you sit down at the dinner table, don’t pass on the green vegetables.
- Order at least one green veggie when given an option of sides at a restaurant and find ways to incorporate them into snacks throughout the day.
- Keeping green vegetables prepared to just pop into your mouth and a regular part of your dinner diet will bolster your health, giving you confidence your body has what it needs to maintain a healthy balance and even fight life-threatening disease.