If you’re dealing with a lung infection, here’s some good news: a recent study suggests that eating vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage might help ease the infection. The study, conducted in mice, found that these veggies have natural molecules that can activate a protein called AHR (aryl hydrocarbon receptor), which plays a role in maintaining a strong lung barrier.
Researchers from the Francis Crick Institute discovered that AHR is not only important for immune cells but also highly active in the cells that line blood vessels in the lungs. This lining acts as a barrier between the body and the outside air, allowing oxygen to enter while keeping out harmful things like pollution and viruses.
When you’re sick, you might not feel like eating well, which could mean you miss out on the beneficial molecules from these vegetables. However, the study emphasizes the importance of continuing to eat these veggies even when you’re unwell.
In experiments with mice, the researchers found that AHR helped prevent the lung barrier from becoming leaky when the mice were infected with the flu. Mice with higher AHR activity were also better at fighting off infections and didn’t lose as much weight.
Interestingly, the study showed that what mice eat impacts their AHR activity during infections. Mice that ate a diet rich in AHR-activating molecules had better lung barriers and less damage compared to those on a regular diet.
In summary, this research suggests that eating cruciferous vegetables could have a positive effect on lung health, especially during infections. These veggies activate AHR, which helps maintain a strong lung barrier and improves the body’s defense against illnesses. So, whether you’re feeling great or under the weather, including these vegetables in your diet might be a smart choice for your lung health.