Feb 17: Whether we like it or not, leafy greens are filled with nutritional powerhouses filled with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. And that’s the reason why our parents always encourage us to eat vegetables.
Now, scientists have found that these leafy greens are beneficial for our stomachs too. They discovered an unusual sugar molecule found in leafy green vegetables such as cabbage, spinach and other leafy greens feeds the ‘good’ stomach bacteria, thus improving gut health.
The finding suggests that leafy greens are essential for feeding good gut bacteria, limiting the ability of bad bacteria to colonise the gut by shutting them out of the prime ‘real estate’.
Researchers identified a previously unknown enzyme used by bacteria, fungi and other organisms to feed on the unusual but abundant sugar sulfoquinovose, SQ for short, found in green vegetables.
The discovery also paves the wave for developing an entirely new class of antibiotics.
Each year, leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, produce the sugar on an enormous scale globally, comparable to the world’s total annual iron ore production.
The study, published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, was led by researchers from Melbourne and the UK.