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All the good things that happen when you eat green vegetables

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All the good things that happen when you eat green vegetables

Quite a lot of good things happen to you—and your gut—when you eat green vegetables.

Researchers have been tracking the biological processes that take place when we swallow some spinach or chew on broccoli.

Vegetables contain sugars called sulfoquinovose—known as sulfosugar because it contains sulfur (sulphur)—which need specialized bacteria to break them down. This process produces hydrogen sulfide, a gas that has strong anti-inflammatory effects at low doses.

Researchers from the University of Vienna are the first to track the way the gut deals with sulfosugar. “We have shed some light into this black box,” said Buck Hanson, one of the researchers.

Sulfosugar stimulates the growth of key organisms in the gut microbiome that aren’t affected by other sugars, such as glucose, including E. rectale, one of the 10 most common gut microbes in healthy people.

The process has a positive knock-on effect. It also produces a sulfur compound, DHPS, that acts as an energy source for other intestinal bacteria.

(Source: The ISME Journal, 2021; doi: 10.1038/s41396-021-00968-0)

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