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In a recent study, UK-based scientists have just shown that specific compounds in Broccoli and Kale contribute to fortifying the pulmonary barrier, thereby mitigating the risk of lung infections.
Lung infections are not uncommon and pose a heightened risk for individuals with compromised immune systems. One proactive measure to counteract this is to bolster the lung barrier and enhance the immune system. Recent findings from the Francis Crick Institute in the United Kingdom indicate that cruciferous vegetables—namely broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage—could be instrumental in safeguarding the lungs against infections.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Catalysts for Cellular Regeneration in Lungs
In a scholarly article featured in the scientific journal Nature, the research team delved into the mechanisms by which these vegetables could deter lung infections. Utilizing a mouse model, they infected the subjects with the influenza virus and monitored the pulmonary effects of a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables. Their initial observations revealed that compounds in broccoli and cabbage activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) located in the endothelial cells lining the lung’s blood vessels. This activation serves to reinforce the lung barrier by sustaining cellular cohesion and amplifying the immune response to both viral and bacterial invasions.
Enhanced Immune Efficacy in Cruciferous-Fed Rodents
Further into their investigation, the researchers noted that mice infected with influenza exhibited blood presence in the lung’s air spaces due to a compromised barrier. Interestingly, an overactivation of the AHR led to a reduction of blood in these air spaces. Moreover, rodents that consumed cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis demonstrated a more robust lung barrier, sustained less pulmonary damage during infection, and exhibited an augmented capacity to counter infections.
Andreas Wack, the principal investigator of the study, stated, “Our research confirms the pivotal role of AHR in maintaining the lung barrier’s integrity, which becomes disrupted during infections. While people may neglect their diet when unwell, thereby missing out on these beneficial compounds, our findings emphasize the ongoing importance of consuming cruciferous vegetables, particularly when fighting off infections.”
In the wake of these revelations, Andreas Wack’s statements accentuate the value of a cruciferous-vegetable-rich diet, especially during times of illness. While further human trials are essential for validation, the study provides encouraging preliminary evidence that dietary choices may wield a considerable influence on respiratory well-being and immune resilience.
Major, J., Crotta, S., Finsterbusch, K. et al. Endothelial AHR activity prevents lung barrier disruption in viral infection. Nature (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06287-y