Add cabbage, cauliflower, and kale to your diet to protect your liver

Published on:9 February 2020, 11:00am IST
Do you know, that there are just 24 calories in 100 grams of Cabbage?
PTI
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Say no to alcohol and yes to cauliflower for a healthy liver. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Hey, stop cringing after just reading the headline because this will change your perception about these humble veggies for sure. 

We know that vegetables like cabbage have been accused of many illicit things like it’s been synthetically produced or the presence of deadly insects in it which can rupture your brain, etc. etc. But the fact is – If you’ll clean it properly and cook it well then this veggie has a lot to offer.  

And not just cabbage but vegetables like cauliflower and kale have also been included in the list of being the best when it comes to the health of your liver.  

According to a recent study published in the journal Hepatology, a natural compound has been found in these vegetables that may help treat fatty liver disease. Isn’t it a great news!

All the credit goes to your gut bacteria and these vegetables for their collaborative effort
The study demonstrates how non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can be controlled by indole, a natural compound found in gut bacteria, and in cruciferous vegetables.

It also addresses how this natural compound may lead to new treatments or preventive measures for NAFLD, the researchers said.

“We believe healthy foods with high capacity for indole production are essential for preventing NAFLD, and are beneficial for improving the health of those with it,” said Chaodong Wu from Texas A&M AgriLife Research in the US.

Wu added:

This is another example where altering the diet can help prevent or treat disease and improve the well-being of the individual.

NAFLD occurs when the liver becomes “marbled” with fat, sometimes due to unhealthy nutrition, such as excessive intake of saturated fats.

If it is not properly addressed, the condition can lead to life-threatening liver disease, including cirrhosis or liver cancer, the researchers said.

Gut bacteria can have an effect — either positive or negative — on the progression of fatty liver disease, they said.

These bacteria produce many different compounds, one of which is indole.

The new compound might also be helpful in fighting cancer, says study
This compound, a product of the amino acid tryptophan, has been identified by clinical nutritionists and nutrition scientists as likely having preventive and therapeutic benefits to people with NAFLD.


The US National Cancer Institute also notes the benefits of indole-3-carbinol found in cruciferous vegetables, including their anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.

The latest study examined the effect of indole concentrations on people, animal models, and individual cells to help determine indole’s effect on liver inflammation and its potential benefits to people with NAFLD.

It investigated the extent to which indole alleviates NAFLD, incorporating previous findings on gut bacteria, intestinal inflammation, and liver inflammation.

The researchers investigated the effects of indole on individuals with fatty livers.

In 137 Chinese subjects, the team discovered people with a higher body mass index tended to have lower levels of indole in their blood.

The levels of the compound in those who were clinically obese were significantly lower than those who were considered lean, the researcher said.

In those with lower indole levels, there was also a higher amount of fat deposition in the liver, they said.

“This result will likely extend to other ethnicities, though ethnic background may have some influence on gut bacteria populations and the exact levels of metabolites,” said Qifu Li, also a physician at Chongqing Medical University in China.

To further determine the impact of indole, the research team used animals fed a low-fat diet as a control, and high-fat diet to simulate the effects of NAFLD.

mental health diet
For the sake of your liver health, eat a balanced diet. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“The comparisons of animal models fed a low-fat diet and high-fat diet gave us a better understanding of how indole is relevant to NAFLD,” said Gianfranco Alpini, a former professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center.

Alpini, now the director of the Indiana Center for Liver Research, said the treatment of NAFLD-mimicking animal models with indole significantly decreased fat accumulation and inflammation in the liver. 

We Indians prefer a lot of ghee and oils in our food. It’s not bad when taken in moderation but to be on the safer side includes these vegetables in your daily dose of nutrition to stay fit with a healthy liver.  

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