New research undertaken by researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of
Medical Research in Melbourne has shown a link between eating leafy greens in your
diet and protecting the body from infection.

AUSVEG spokesperson Andrew White welcomed research recently published in the
March 2013 edition of the journal Nature Immunology, which has shown that an
immune cell population essential for intestinal health can be controlled by leafy greens
in your diet.
“These findings by Australian researchers back up the virtues that have long been
talked about with respect to the health benefits of eating green leafy vegetables,” Mr
White said.
“The researchers found that the gene T-bet is essential for producing a population of
vital immune cells, named innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), which are found in the lining of
the digestive system and protect the body from bad bacteria in the intestine.”
“The research findings show that proteins in green leafy vegetables interact with a cell
surface receptor that switches on T-bet.”
“The T-bet gene responds to signals in the food we eat and the ILCs are believed to
play a significant role in controlling food allergies, inflammatory disease and obesity,
and may even prevent the development of bowel cancers,” Mr White said.
AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s vegetable
The research was undertaken by Dr Gabrielle Belz, Ms Lucie Rankin, Dr Joanna Groom
and colleagues from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s Molecular Immunology
“Maintaining a healthy environment in the intestine is incredibly important with regards
to promoting good bacteria and also for healing small wounds and abrasions that can
be common in the gut,” Mr White said.
“The researchers say innate lymphoid cells may also have a role in resolving cancerous
“It’s fantastic that research of this kind is being conducted by researchers in Australia.
We hope that the findings further motivate consumers to purchase green leafy
vegetable products which may assist in improving human health.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew White, Manager of Industry Development &
Communications, Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0409 989 575, Email: