Eat Leafy Vegetables to Promote Good Digestion

Researchers uncover possible link between immune cell production and vegetable protein
By Eleanor Healy
Eleanor Healy
Eleanor Healy
February 8, 2019 Updated: March 24, 2019

An Australian study discovered that a gene called T-bet may play an integral role in promoting good digestion.

This gene signals the production of immune cells, known as innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) in the gut. T-bet may act in response to the proteins in cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, watercress, kale, collards, bok choy, broccoli, and cauliflower that produce these ILCs. This connection shows the importance of the foods we ingest and our subsequent immunity as a whole.

Scientists are further studyING this connection in hopes of helping those with bowel diseases and digestion problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease.

According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Crohn’s is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract with genetics, heredity, environmental factors, and stress all playing a role in the development of it. Little is understood of the root cause, so this discovery of immune-strengthening pathways activated by certain foods may prove to be invaluable information for sufferers of digestion problems.

With a rampant under-consumption of leafy greens in North America (don’t forget those who go so far as to say that they hate vegetables), how can we convince people to eat more vegetables? Perhaps the study that vegetables and fruit make you happier will help convince people. It may also be time to put out a reminder once again.

Here is a list of four reasons to eat more vegetables, particularly leafy greens:

1. Fiber
Vegetables give the body fiber. Fiber helps keep blood sugar steady (especially important for diabetics), lowers bad cholesterol, and ensures regular bowel movements by preventing toxic buildup in the digestive tract. This can prevent the development of digestion problems, including constipation.

2. Vitamins and Minerals
Vegetables contain important nutrients, also known as phytonutrients, that give you energy, help make hormones, break down food, and can keep your skin, hair and bones healthy and strong.

3. Prevent Disease
The antioxidants in vegetables play an important role in disease prevention by protecting the cells in the body from oxidation and free radicals. Without the antioxidant protection, the body is vulnerable to rapid degeneration and aging.

4. Lift Your Mood
The nutrients in vegetables have been shown to possibly improve brain chemistry enough to lift your mood. If you’re feeling low, look at your diet. Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables?

It is possible to fall off the wagon of good eating and find yourself on the roller coaster of eating out, grabbing a sandwich on the go or eating fast food in your car.

If you find yourself in that situation, it’s important to just get back on track. Make a point of bringing fresh snacks with you for the day. Chopped up celery, carrots, and peppers in a baggie can go a long way. Cucumber slices carry well and don’t make a mess. You can also find alternative ways to incorporate vegetables into your diet, even if it means making a green smoothie every morning.

With all the studies and information out there today, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t start to give your body the kick start it needs by eating more vegetables.

Eleanor Healy is a registered holistic nutritionist. This article was first published on

Eleanor Healy
Eleanor Healy