It’s a widely accepted fact that cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, are good for the gut, but scientists say they have now discovered why. The work by the team from the Francis Crick Institute, a biomedical research centre in London, focussed on the way cruciferous vegetables alter the lining of the intestines. As they are digested, anti-cancer chemicals, including indole-3-carbinol, are produced. Indole-3-carbinol changes the behaviour of stem cells in the lower bowel and the study involving mice showed it protected them from cancer – even mice whose genes put them at a very high risk of developing the disease. Speaking about the findings of the study, one of the researchers, Dr Gitta Stockinger, said: “Even when the mice started developing tumours and we switched them to the appropriate diet, it halted tumour progression.” Prof Tim Key, from Cancer Research UK, said: “Further studies will help find out whether the molecules in these vegetables have the same effect in people, but in the meantime there are already plenty of good reasons to eat more vegetables.” Interestingly, Dr Stockinger added that cruciferous vegetables should not be overcooked to get the most benefit. According to the charity Bowel Cancer UK, bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, affecting almost 42,000 people every year.
Many people follow strict eating regimes before any surgery, be it minor or major. However, few people realise that what you eat after surgery is just as important. This is because surgery is a major trauma on our bodies and as such, they have to significantly repair themselves following any surgical procedure. This is why it’s vital that you give your body everything it needs during this crucial healing stage. Many people think that because they will inevitably be inactive following surgery they should reduce their calorie intake. The opposite, however, is often true and post-surgery patients need additional essential calories and nutrients to facilitate the reparation process. Protein It’s important that you follow a balanced diet after surgery, but one of the key components of this has to be protein. Muscles are often damaged or disturbed during surgery and need protein in order to heal. That’s why it’s important to fill your diet with foods like poultry, meat, fish, eggs, yogurt, cheese, beans and nuts. Alternatively, you can use protein supplements to boost your intake and aid the muscle healing process. Vitamins Furthermore, there are a number of vitamins that are vital for the healing process. For example, vitamin C aids in soft tissue repair and vitamin E is important in antioxidant defence. Some individuals may be prescribed vitamin supplements by their medical professional, but the best source, of course, is from food. Almonds, wheat germ, peanuts, sunflower seeds and plant oils are all loaded with vitamin E, while strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and bell peppers contain high levels of vitamin C. Whatever your surgery, it’s important that you don’t shy away from food. The surgeons have done their bit and now it’s time for you to do yours. Photo credit: © NOBU - Fotolia.com