Broccoli fights lung disease

Here’s another reason to eat your greens. It turns out broccoli may help the immune system to clean harmful bacteria from the lungs. A compound found in the vegetable is now being trialled as a treatment for people with lung disease.

To ensure that the lungs function correctly, white blood cells called macrophages remove debris and bacteria that can build up in the lungs and cause infection.

This cleaning system is defective in smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a combination of emphysema and bronchitis – who suffer from frequent infections.

Now, researchers have figured out that a chemical pathway in the lungs called NRF2, involved in macrophage activation, is wiped out by smoking. They also found that sulphoraphane, a plant chemical that is made by broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables when damaged, such as when chewed, can restore this pathway. Read more here.

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