What moms get right when it comes to dinner
At my clinic here in the Boston area, I do my best to offer my patients common-sense health advice.
But with Mother's Day just around the corner, it's the perfect time to remember that some of the finest wisdom around actually comes from someone much closer to your heart.
Whether she's your mom, mother, mama, or ma, she's got a pretty good track record for keeping you alive -- and well -- after having brought you into this world in the first place.
She sent you to play outside instead of sitting in front of the TV... she kept you away from the cookie jar... and she wouldn't let you leave the table until you'd finished your veggies.
Now, the latest science is backing her up -- because it turns out that one particular veggie may hold the key to keeping your gut healthy.
And if you've found your waistline kept growing bigger long after you stopped growing taller, this dinner plate staple can keep the outside of your gut in check, too.
It all "boils" down to the vegetable that Mom always told you to eat -- broccoli -- and how it influences your gut flora. And, as I always say, your health begins and ends in your gut.
The study out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign involved 18 healthy adults who were randomly assigned to eat either 200 grams (about half a cup) of cooked broccoli per day or 20 grams of fresh daikon radish per day for 17 days.
It turns out that these two vegetables were NOT created equal. By the end of the study, only those who ate broccoli saw the balance of bacteria in their guts change for the better!
Two of the gut's most common residents are called "firmicutes" and "bacteroidetes." Now, I don't expect you to be able to pronounce those -- just know that previous research has shown that to maintain a healthy weight, you want more of the bacteroidetes in your gut.
In the study, the broccoli eaters INCREASED their proportion of bacteroidetes relative to firmicutes by 37 percent, while those who ate the radish REDUCED that ratio by 5 percent.
That's good news for those of you who want to be lighter on the scale. But beefing up on bacteroidetes has other benefits, too -- these good "bugs" also support smooth digestion and strengthen your immune system.
They help eliminate toxins and pathogens... and keep your brain healthy, too!
So, bring on the broccoli -- and thank all the mothers out there who keep pushing this cruciferous cure on kids throughout the world.
These "little trees" are loaded vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fiber -- which also helps things move through your gut at the right pace.
And broccoli has cancer-fighting potential, too, because it contains high levels of anti-cancer plant compounds called glucosinolates
To get the most benefit from your broccoli, eat it raw or lightly cooked to preserve its active enzymes. As the weather warms up, try a cold broccoli salad for a refreshing and tasty side dish.