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Bad bacteria like E.coli, listeria, Campylobacter and salmonella do more than send you running to the bathroom with a bad case of food poisoning.
They stick around in your gut and screw up the delicate balance in your microbiome. They may even lead to chronic diseases…
E.coli, for example, has been linked to inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease. And Campylobacter and salmonella have been linked to chronic arthritis.
Not to mention, if you have a condition known as leaky gut syndrome (where your intestinal barrier becomes compromised), these nasty pathogens could seep into your bloodstream and create system-wide inflammation that contributes to autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Now, truth be told, most of us have succumbed to food poisoning at some point or another. That means, the likelihood that one or more of these bad bacteria are lurking around in your gut is pretty good.
So how to do you protect yourself from the long term damage of these pathogenic pests?
The pathogen-killing power of Cruciferae
Your best bet is to eat foods that help your immune system fight intestinal pathogens, which means there’s one family of foods that should be at the top of your shopping list…
A study from researchers at the Francis Crick Institute found that cruciferous vegetables help optimize levels of a protective protein that fights pathogens in your gut.
The protective protein is aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). And it’s well known for its ability to defend your body from external pollutants, toxins and pathogens at sites where they have a tendency to sneak in — like your skin, your lungs and (of course) your gut.
But another protein, known as Cyp1a1, regulates your AhR protein. And unfortunately, Cyp1a1 can become overactive and regulate AhR too much, leading to AhR-depletion. This leaves your gut defenseless and turns it into a breeding ground for destructive pathogens.
But when this happens, cruciferous vegetables can come to your rescue…
Researchers demonstrated this phenomenon recently by creating mice with overactive Cyp1a1 responses. These mice were unable to fend off Citrobacter bacteria (the mouse version of E.coli), a pathogen most healthy mice wouldn’t have any trouble fighting. That’s because their out of control Cyp1a1 proteins decimated the protective AhR proteins in their guts.
But, according to researchers, cruciferous vegetables can tackle this problem (in both mice and people) by:
- Providing nutrients that activate the protective AhR protein.
- Preventing Cyp1a1 from becoming overactive and depleting your protective AhR protein.
So now you know a simple way to fortify your body against pathogens that, at best, can make you extremely sick for a few days and, at worst, can lead to a chronic disease that puts your health and your life on the line. Here’s a list of cruciferous vegetables that will help you defend yourself right now:
- Brussels sprouts
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Red cabbage
- Green cabbage
- Turnip greens
- Mustard greens
- Savoy cabbage
- Chinese cabbage
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“Cruciferous vegetables help the immune system to fight intestinal pathogens.” MedicalXpress. https://medicalxpress.com. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
“Food Poisoning: Long-Term Effects.” Foodsafety.gov. https://www.foodsafety.gov. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
Chris Schiering, et al. “Feedback control of AHR signalling regulates intestinal immunity.” Nature, 2017.
“What Are the Health Benefits of Brassica or Cruciferous Vegetables?” The San Francisco Chronicle. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
“List of Cruciferous Vegetables.” The San Francisco Chronicle. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com. Retrieved February 3, 2017.