Why hating sprouts and broccoli could keep you healthy
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People who find vegetables like sprouts and broccoli unbearably bitter are better at fighting off infection due to chemicals in their nose, a new study has found.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that people who hate food like broccoli or sprouts have more receptors that pick up the flavour of these food - and also work as an early warning system about bacterial invaders, media reported.
The receptors were traditionally thought to be located only on the tongue but are now known to be in the linings of the nasal and sinus cavities as well.
These receptors are involved in activating the body's natural defences against common infections.
However, almost a third of the population do not have the specific version of the bitter taste receptor gene called TAS2R38 that activates an immune response.
"If you are a super taster, it is going to be very rare you are going to get sinusitis," Dr Noam Cohen, of the University of Pennsylvania, said.
He added this bitter-tasting ability does not protect against all infections.
In the study, researchers grew cells in lab dishes, forming structures that resembled the multi-layered lining of the nose and sinus, to test out how bitter receptors affect the initial stages of the infection process.
Chemicals produced by common bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa activated the TAS2R38 bitter receptor, and caused the hair-like cilia that line the sinuses to start sweeping away microbial intruders.
The activation also resulted in the release into the sinuses of nitric oxide which kills bacteria.
The researchers looked at just one of 25 bitter receptors and it remains to be seen if the others affect the immune system.
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
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