The next time you go to make a green smoothie, you can put down the spinach and other vegetables and pick up something a little different instead.
According to Dr Rangan Chatterjee, the author of “The Four Pillar Plan” and a correspondent on the BBC programme Doctor in the House, there is only one vegetable people really need to eat – broccoli.
“Broccoli is a life-saver,” he wrote in a recent article for the MailOnline.
The benefits of consuming the green cabbage variety, of which there are many, according to Dr Chatterjee, start in the gut, after travelling through the small intestine, and expand from there.
Once the indigestible fibres from the broccoli reach the colon, gut bugs “start feasting on the fibre and making short-chain fatty acids,” Dr Chatterjee said.
This, in turn, leads to healthy gut bacteria, bowel health, and improved immune health.
As an overall marker of health, gut health is quite important as it has a “profound influence not only on our digestive function but also on our mood and brain function” and may also affect our weight and potential joint pain, according to Dr Chatterjee.
Although gut health was known to be beneficial to bowel health, the link between healthy gut bacteria and a healthy mind is relatively new, as science emerges.
Vegetables: not just for side dishes
According to Harvard University Medical School, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can actually be the cause of anxiety, stress, or depression “because the brain and gastrointestinal system are intimately connected.”
If your diet is unhealthy, it can cause this connection to flare up. But when you eat gut health-boosting foods like broccoli, you can lower the risk of mental health issues.
Broccoli also provides numerous other benefits including heart health, eye health, cancer prevention, and cholesterol reduction, according to previous studies.
However, make sure you are cooking and consuming your broccoli the most efficient way to get the full results – meaning you should avoid frying it and opt for boiling, steaming, or eating it raw instead.