Microgreens and Gut Health - A Digestive Harmony

Microgreens and Gut Health – A Digestive Harmony

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This is Episode 2 of our enlightening series, “The Health Benefits of Microgreens: Why They’re a Nutritional Powerhouse.” If you missed the introduction, explore it here: “The Science of Microgreens Nutrition: How They Enhance Health and Wellness (Introduction)” and Episode 1, “Boost Digestive Health with Microgreens Today!

Gut health is the new trend. As scientists and doctors learn more, it is now considered the cornerstone of overall well-being, and microgreens and gut health are becoming synonymous in nutrition. Imagine feeling a sense of balance and vitality in your gut microbiome, knowing your food is delicious and nourishing. That’s the magic of microgreens.

Microgreens support gut health by providing essential dietary fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients aid in digestion, reduce inflammation, and enhance the gut microbiome. Integrating microgreens into a daily diet can significantly improve digestive health and well-being.

These tiny, nutrient-packed greens are more than just a culinary trend; they’re a natural ally for gut harmony. From the crunch of fresh Purslane to the subtle flavor of Buckwheat, microgreens offer a delightful way to enhance your meals and health.

But what makes microgreens so unique? How can something so small have such a significant impact on something as complex as our digestive system? In this exploration, we’ll dive into the fascinating connection between microgreens and gut health. We’ll uncover the science behind these miniature powerhouses and reveal how they can become vital to your daily diet.

So, whether you’re a health-conscious consumer, a gourmet chef, or someone simply looking to feel better from the inside out, join me on this journey. Discover the harmony microgreens can bring to our gut microbiome and lives.

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Microgreens: A Nutritional Powerhouse

Microgreens are the early, edible plants and herbs harvested just after the first true leaves, or cotyledons, have developed. They’ve been part of the culinary landscape for decades but have recently gained popularity for their nutritional benefits.

What are Microgreens? Understanding the Basics

Microgreens are not merely garnishing on your plate; they are nutritional gems. From herbs to vegetables, microgreens can be grown from various plant seeds, offering a wide array of flavors and textures.

Nutritional Profile: Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants

What sets microgreens apart is their concentrated nutrient content. Vitamins A, C, E and K are present in it as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and zinc. Studies have shown that microgreens contain as much as forty times more nutrients than their mature counterparts and can be stored for a more extended period [1].

How Microgreens Differ from Mature Plants

Unlike mature plants, microgreens are harvested at an early growth stage, 7-21 days, depending on the plant, capturing the essence of the plant’s nutritional value. This early harvest means that microgreens often contain more vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants, making them a potent addition to any diet.

Microgreens are more than a culinary delight; they are a nutritional powerhouse. Whether you’re looking to enhance your meals or boost your health, understanding the value of microgreens is the first step in embracing their potential. As we explore the connection between microgreens and gut health, these tiny greens will reveal themselves as mighty allies in digestive harmony.

Wellness Week

The Gut: Your Second Brain

The gut, often called the “second brain,” is vital to our health. It’s not just about digestion; the gut is a complex system communicating with the brain, affecting everything from mood to immunity. Since Dr. Michael Gershon’s groundbreaking book in 1998, the field of Neurogastroenterology and the knowledge that your gut has nerve cells that can operate your digestive system without instructions from the brain or spinal cord have culminated in the recent fascination and discoveries in our gut microbiome.

Understanding the Gut and Its Functions

The gut is more than a digestive organ; it’s a multifaceted system that includes the stomach, intestines, liver, and more. The primary function of this device is to dissolve food, take up nutrients, and remove waste. But it also produces hormones and communicates with the brain [2].

The Gut Microbiome: A Delicate Balance

The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, known as the gut microbiome. This complex ecosystem is crucial to digestion, immune function, and mental health. To have optimal health, a balance of the gut microbiome is essential.

The digestive system’s balance of microorganisms is referred to as gut health. Your gut microbiome consists of a complex bacterial, viral and fungal ecosystem in your intestines. Approximately two hundred different types of microorganisms exist in every human’s stomach. Some of the organisms are harmful to our health. Still, they’re beneficial and necessary for a healthy body.

It is suggested that many different types of bacteria in your gut may help protect you against diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, and Porphyria arthritis. [3].

The microbiome of the gut is an important factor for healthy living and well being. It affects many areas of your health, including:

  • Immune system: The gut wall is a barrier to viruses, fungi, and harmful bacteria. You can help increase your immunity by maintaining a healthy microbiome in your gut.
  • Mental health: Research suggests that the gut microbiome may play a role in mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
  • Autoimmune diseases: The autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus may be aggravated by an unhealthy gut microbiome.
  • Endocrine disorders: The gut microbiome may also affect endocrine disorders like diabetes and obesity.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: Irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease are gastronomical disorders that may be caused by a deficiency of the gut microbes.
  • Cardiovascular disease: Research indicates an unhealthy gut microbiome may contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Common Gut Health Issues and Their Impact

“As we age, the natural cycles slow down and don’t work as well,” says Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Gerard Mullin, M.D.

Imbalances in the gut can lead to common issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, constipation, and more.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a chronic condition of the large intestine, may cause abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. We do not know the exact cause of IBS is unknown. Researchers and scientists think it is due to a blend of factors, including genetics, diet, and stress. IBS can radically affect the quality of life, including work, school, and social activities [4].
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic diseases that cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Two common types of IBD are ulcerative colitis which inflames the colon’s lining, and Crohn’s disease which affects every part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. IBD can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue, and in some cases can also lead to complications such as colon cancer [5].
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is when you have excessive bacteria in the small intestine. This can cause various symptoms, including bloating, gas, diarrhea, and weight loss. Several factors, including surgery, infection, and certain medications, can cause SIBO [6].
  • Leaky gut syndrome is when the small intestine’s lining becomes damaged, allowing bacteria, toxins, and other substances to leak into the bloodstream. This can cause numerous symptoms, including bloating, gas, diarrhea, fatigue, and food sensitivities. Leaky gut syndrome is not well-defined, and no single test can diagnose it [7].
  • Dysbiosis is the imbalance in your gut microbiota. Several factors, including antibiotic use, stress, and poor diet, can cause this. Dysbiosis can cause numerous symptoms, including bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. It can also increase the risk of developing other health problems like IBD and obesity [8].

These are just a few common gut health issues that can significantly impact our overall health and well-being and may indicate more severe underlying health conditions.

If you experience any of these symptoms or notice other signs of poor gastrointestinal health., then try these new habits:

  • Reducing stress levels
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating a diet rich in whole foods
  • Consuming probiotics or fermented foods
  • Avoiding antibiotics unless necessary

Your living habits can help improve the health of your gut microbiome and contribute to a healthy overall state. However, it is essential to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.

As we’ve explored the complexity of the gut, it’s clear that maintaining gut health is essential for overall well-being. Now, let’s delve into the specific microgreens that can support this delicate system, bringing harmony and balance to our digestive health.

Microgreens and Gut Health: A Perfect Match

Microgreens are a culinary delight and a perfect match for gut health. Their nutritional profile, rich in specific nutrients, makes them an essential part of a diet that supports digestive wellness.

How Microgreens Support Gut Health

Microgreens provide dietary fiber, essential for smooth digestion. Fiber helps bulk the stool and aids in its passage through the digestive tract, preventing constipation. The antioxidants in microgreens also play a role in reducing inflammation in the gut.

The Role of Microgreens in Maintaining Gut Flora Balance

Microgreens can also play a role in maintaining the balance of the gut flora. The nutrients in microgreens help nourish the good bacteria in the gut, promoting a healthy microbiome. A balanced gut flora is essential for digestion and overall health.

Specific Nutrients in Microgreens that Aid Digestion

Microgreens are recognized for their role in supporting gut health, and here, we highlight specific types that contribute to gut wellness. Purslane microgreens are noted for their benefits to digestive health, although more human research is required to substantiate these results. The content of dietary fiber in buckwheat microgreens, which is vital for the proper functioning of digestion, will be given special attention. Additionally, red cabbage microgreens are mentioned for their ability to reduce inflammation and enhance gut health.

  • Broccoli Microgreens: rich in the compound sulforaphane, a known cancer fighter
  • Purslane Microgreens: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, support anti-inflammatory processes.
  • Buckwheat Microgreens: High in fiber, aiding in digestion.
  • Red Cabbage Microgreens: High level of antioxidants and carotenoids

Broccoli Microgreens

A sulforaphane compound is found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. Research scientists have studied sulforaphane for its potential power to reduce colon cancer risk. Research has shown that sulforaphane may help prevent colon cancer by inhibiting cancer cell growth and promoting cancer cell death [12].

A 2015 Cancer Prevention Research journal study found that sulforaphane reduced the number of colon polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Colon cancer risks rise considerably with FAP. Sulforaphane was also shown to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells in mice, according to two further studies that appeared in 2014 in the journal Cancer Letters.

While these studies are promising, more research is needed to understand sulforaphane’s effects on colon cancer fully. To learn more about sulforaphane or its potential health benefits, explore my post, “The Ultimate Guide to Broccoli Microgreens Nutrition, including Nutrition Data, Facts, Info, and Recipes.”

Purslane Microgreens

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter primarily produced in the gut and regulates the digestive system.

It is an enteric neurotransmitter secreted by specialized cells, not nerve cells, in the gut lining. It works within the mucosa to stimulate intrinsic sensory nerves, initiating peristaltic and secretory reflexes to move food through the intestines. There are at least seven receptors in the gut that react to serotonin.

A study demonstrated that the gut microbiome regulates serotonin production [13]. The gut microbiome produces many of the same neurotransmitters as the brain, including serotonin. The gut makes as much as 90% of the body’s serotonin.

An essential role in the regulation of serotonin is played by Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly tryptophan. Serotonin is produced using an amino acid called tryptophan hydroxylase. Further research has shown that vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids may modulate serotonin creation, release, and function.

Purslane microgreens are known for their high omega-3 fatty acid content and antioxidants.

By reducing inflammation in the gut, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to promoting a healthy intestinal microbiome.

A healthy gut microbiome can help promote serotonin production and regulation, positively impacting mental health and overall well-being. Conversely, an unhealthy gut microbiome may contribute to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

Explore the microgreens nutrition charts and more in the post “The Power of Purslane Microgreens: A Complete Nutritional Overview.”

Buckwheat Microgreens

Buckwheat microgreens are gluten-free and high in fiber, 40%, making them an excellent choice for those with gluten sensitivities or looking to enhance digestion. They also contain rutin, a flavonoid that can strengthen blood vessels, supporting overall digestive health. Rutin has also been studied for its potential ability to reduce inflammation and improve the diversity of the gut microbiome.

Explore the microgreens nutrition charts and more in the post, “Why Chefs Love Them: A Look at Buckwheat Microgreens Nutrition.”

Red Cabbage Microgreens

Red Cabbage microgreens can increase the efficacy of your immune system and reduce inflammation in your body due to their high level of antioxidants, carotenoids, vitamins K1 and C, and potassium.

They help reduce inflammation and enhance gut health. They’re also full of fiber, which helps with digestion. Approximately 70% of the fiber in cabbage microgreens is insoluble. The other 30% of fiber is soluble, which feeds the gut flora and helps to keep the gut in good shape. According to one study, having a healthy gut flora lowers your risk of developing Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Trials have also effectively used fresh cabbage juice to treat stomach ulcers.

Explore the microgreens nutrition charts and more in the post “The Ultimate Guide to Cabbage Microgreens Nutrition including Nutrition Data, Facts, Info, and Recipes.”

These specific microgreens’ unique nutritional profiles can be vital to a healthy digestive system. They’re adding flavor and texture to your meal, harmonizing the gastrointestinal tract.

Next, we’ll look at incorporating these nutritional powerhouses into your daily diet, enhancing your meals and overall well-being.

Incorporating Microgreens into Your Daily Diet

Microgreens aren’t just for gourmet chefs; they can also be delicious and healthy additions to your daily meals. Here’s how you can incorporate them into your diet, whether buying them at the store or growing them at home.

Delicious and Easy Recipes with Microgreens

  • Breakfast: Sprinkle Purslane microgreens on your avocado toast for an omega-3 boost.
  • Lunch: Add Buckwheat microgreens to your salad for extra fiber.
  • Dinner: Garnish your soup with Borage microgreens for a touch of Vitamin A.

Tips for Selecting and Storing Microgreens

  • Selecting: Look for fresh, vibrant greens without any signs of wilting.
  • Storing: Keep refrigerated in a sealed container and stay fresh for up to a week.

Growing Your Microgreens: A Brief Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Choose Your Seeds: Select seeds specifically labeled for microgreens.
  2. Planting: Sow the seeds in a shallow container with soil.
  3. Watering: Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  4. Harvesting: Snip the greens when they have two leaves, usually within 7-21 days.

Check out our Microgreens at True Leaf Market

Growing your microgreens can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to enjoy these nutritional powerhouses daily. Plus, it’s a fun project that even urban dwellers with limited space can undertake. Explore more in my post “Growing Microgreens At Home in Containers.”

Incorporating microgreens into your daily diet is delicious and beneficial for your gut health. As we continue exploring the world of microgreens, let’s delve into how diet changes using microgreens can enhance our daily lives.

Microgreens for Different Age Groups and Lifestyles: Incorporating Microgreens into Your Daily Diet

Microgreens for Different Age Groups and Lifestyles

Microgreens are versatile and beneficial for various age groups and lifestyles. These nutrient-dense greens can be tailored to meet the specific nutritional needs of children, health enthusiasts, and seniors.

Microgreens for Children: Building a Healthy Foundation

Introducing microgreens to children’s diets can be a fun way to instill healthy eating habits. Their vibrant colors and mild flavors can make them appealing to young palates. Microgreens like Purslane, rich in omega-3, support their brain development. Explore more in my post, “Boost Your Child’s Immune System: 10 Amazing Microgreens You Can Put in Their Lunchboxes.”

Microgreens for Fitness Enthusiasts: Enhancing Performance

For fitness enthusiasts, microgreens can be a natural way to enhance performance. Buckwheat microgreens, high in fiber and nutrients, can provide sustained energy during workouts. They can be easily added to smoothies or salads for a nutritional boost. Explore more in my post, “Microgreens and Fitness: How to Improve Your Performance Naturally.”

Microgreens for Seniors: Supporting Healthy Aging

Seniors can benefit from microgreens as well. Borage microgreens, rich in Vitamin A, can support eye health. In contrast, the antioxidants in various microgreens can aid in reducing inflammation, a common issue in aging. Explore in my post, “A 10-Minute Run Once A Day Keeps Your Brain Boosted.”

Microgreens are more than a trendy food item; they are a versatile nutritional tool that can be adapted to different age groups and lifestyles. Microgreens have something to offer, whether you’re nurturing a child’s growth, fueling your fitness performance, or supporting healthy aging.

As we’ve seen, microgreens are adaptable and beneficial for various stages of life and different lifestyles. Next, we’ll explore special considerations and precautions to ensure that everyone can enjoy microgreens safely and effectively.

Special Considerations: Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

While microgreens offer numerous health benefits and are adaptable to various dietary needs, it’s essential to consider individual dietary needs and restrictions. Here’s what you need to know about allergies, organic choices, and specific dietary considerations.

Identifying Potential Allergies and Intolerances

Though rare, some individuals might have allergies or intolerances to certain microgreens. Introducing them gradually and observing any adverse reactions is wise, primarily if you have known plant allergies.

Organic vs. Non-Organic Microgreens

The USDA defines organic foods as those grown and produced without chemical pesticides, herbicides, and other prohibited substances.

  • Organic Microgreens: Grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, they might be a preferred choice for those seeking a more natural option.
  • Non-Organic Microgreens: Typically more accessible and affordable, but may contain residues from synthetic chemicals.

The USDA strictly polices this process to protect the foodstuffs and the land it’s grown on.

You can visit the Microgreens Directory, https://microgreen.directory, and find a local microgreens farm near you.

Below is a table comparing organic and non-organic microgreens, highlighting the pros and cons of each:

A table comparing organic and non-organic microgreens, highlighting the pros and cons of each

The choice between organic and non-organic microgreens may depend on individual preferences, budget, environmental sustainability, and health values. Both options provide the essential benefits of microgreens but with distinct differences in cultivation methods, taste, and cost.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Considerations

  • Vegan: Microgreens are plant-based and suitable for vegan diets. They can add flavor and nutrients without animal products.
  • Gluten-Free: Microgreens are naturally gluten-free, making them an excellent addition to gluten-free diets.

Understanding these special considerations ensures that microgreens can be enjoyed by a broad audience, including those with specific dietary restrictions or preferences.

Next, we’ll summarize the key takeaways from our microgreens and gut health exploration, providing actionable steps to make these nutritious greens a regular part of your diet.

Key Takeaways: Microgreens and Gut Health

Our exploration of microgreens and gut health has unveiled a profound connection beyond mere culinary delight. Here’s a summary of what we’ve learned and practical steps to make microgreens a nourishing part of your daily life.

Microgreens’ rich nutritional profile supports gut health by aiding digestion, maintaining gut flora balance, and providing specific nutrients that enhance overall digestive harmony.

From delicious recipes to growing your microgreens at home, there are numerous ways to make these vibrant greens a regular part of your meals. Microgreens have something to offer whether you’re a child, an athlete, or a senior.

Feel free to experiment with microgreens like Purslane, Borage, and Buckwheat. Each offers unique flavors and health benefits.

Microgreens are more than a gourmet ingredient; they are a nutritional powerhouse that can be vital in supporting gut health. Embracing microgreens can lead to a more balanced and harmonious digestive system.

Next in our series is Episode 3, “Boosting Immunity Naturally: How Microgreens Enhance Immune Function.”

As we conclude our journey through microgreens and gut health, let’s address some related questions that readers often ask, providing further insights into this fascinating and healthful topic.

Microgreens Nutrition For A Longer, Healthier Life

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The Easy Guide©: Healthy Eating at Any Age

“Nutrition is the only remedy that can bring full recovery and can be used with any treatment. Remember, food is our best medicine.”

Have you ever wanted to keep your body physically fit and active, boost your immunity, and defy physical and mental illness as you age? Yes? Then you are in the right place. What if I told you that chronic diseases could be reversed?

No matter your age or your previous eating habits, it’s never too late to change your nutrition and improve the way you think and feel. Improving your nutrition can now help you.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Related Questions

These answers provide further insights into microgreens and their vital role in supporting gut health, making them a valuable addition to a health-conscious diet.

What Are Microgreens and How Do They Support Gut Health?

Microgreens are tiny plants made of plant seeds like beet, spinach, broccoli, etc. Compared to the mature plant, it contains a concentrated amount of nutrients. They’re filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support the health of the gut microbiome.

Can Microgreens Help with Constipation or Other Gastrointestinal Issues?

Yes, microgreens are high in dietary fiber, which can ease constipation and other gastrointestinal problems, promoting overall gut health.

How Can I Include Microgreens in My Diet?

Microgreens can be easily added to your diet as a garnish for pizza, soups, smoothies, or salads and recipes. They offer a versatile and tasty way to enhance your meals.

Can I Grow Microgreens at Home?

Absolutely! You can grow tiny microgreens home using a seed-starting soil mix and a shallow tray. Place it in sunlight and watch your micro garden grow.

Are Microgreens a Trend or a Sustainable Health Choice?

While once seen primarily as a fashionable garnish, microgreens are now embraced for their nutritional benefits. They are part of a growing global industry, projected to reach $2.2 billion by 2028, reflecting their sustainable role in supporting health, including gut health.


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Did you love what you learned about the incredible benefits of microgreens and gut health?

Please don’t keep it to yourself! Share this guide with friends, family, and fellow food enthusiasts on social media. Whether you’re a home gardener, a gourmet chef, or someone passionate about health and wellness, this series contains insights that can transform your understanding of nutrition.

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  1. Xiao, Zhenlei, et al. “Assessment of Vitamin and Carotenoid Concentrations of Emerging Food Products: Edible Microgreens.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 60, no. 31, 30 July 2012, pp. 7644–7651, pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf300459b, https://doi.org/10.1021/jf300459b.
  2. Gershon, Michael D. The Second Brain. New York, HarperCollins World; London, 1999. Available on Amazon, https://amzn.to/3QSaLWo
  3. Vatanen, Tommi, et al. “Variation in Microbiome LPS Immunogenicity Contributes to Autoimmunity in Humans.” Cell, vol. 165, no. 4, May 2016, pp. 842–853, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2016.04.007.
  4. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 July 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20354526.
  5. “Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 15 July 2022, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/inflammatory-bowel-disease.
  6. “Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).” Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, 20 July 2022, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21681-small-intestinal-bacterial-overgrowth-sibo.
  7. “Leaky Gut Syndrome.” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Health Publishing, 18 July 2022, www.health.harvard.edu/digestive-health/leaky-gut-syndrome.
  8. “Dysbiosis.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 19 July 2022, https://nccih.nih.gov/health/dysbiosis.
  9. Rocchetti, Gabriele, et al. “Red Beet (Beta Vulgaris) and Amaranth (Amaranthus Sp.) Microgreens: Effect of Storage and in Vitro Gastrointestinal Digestion on the Untargeted Metabolomic Profile.” Food Chemistry, vol. 332, Dec. 2020, p. 127415, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.127415. Accessed 14 Dec. 2022.
  10. de la Fuente, Beatriz, et al. “Evaluation of the Bioaccessibility of Antioxidant Bioactive Compounds and Minerals of Four Genotypes of Brassicaceae Microgreens.” Foods, vol. 8, no. 7, 9 July 2019, p. 250, https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8070250.
  11. Fuente, Beatriz de la, et al. “Antiproliferative Effect of Bioaccessible Fractions of Four Brassicaceae Microgreens on Human Colon Cancer Cells Linked to Their Phytochemical Composition.” Antioxidants, vol. 9, no. 5, 28 Apr. 2020, p. 368, https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9050368. Accessed 18 May 2020.
  12. Higdon, Jane V., et al. “Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention.” Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Jan. 2017, https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/isothiocyanates#colon-cancer-prevention.
  13. “Serotonin.” *National Institute of Mental Health*, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Feb. 2018, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/serotonin/index.shtml.
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