They fed both groups broccoli, which contains an organic chemical compound associated with gut and immune surveillance. They then added a substance that causes digestive issues to the meals.
After analyzing their results, they found that the mice with the higher ability to maintain a healthy gut did not react to the added substance. On the other hand, those with the lower ability suffered from the toxins.
»RELATED: Lose the belly pooch: 7 do's and don'ts to accomplish a flat stomach
So how much broccoli would it take to yield the same results for humans? It would be three and a half cups, lead researcher Gary Perdew said in a statement.
"Now, three and a half cups is a lot, but it's not a huge amount, really," Perdew said. "We used a cultivar — or variety — with about half the amount of this chemical in it, and there are cultivars with twice as much. Also, brussels sprouts have three times as much, which would mean a cup of brussels sprouts could get us to the same level."
Additionally, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage may help prevent diseases, including various cancers and Crohn's Disease, caused by inflammation in the lining of the gut, the study said.
Researchers did note that some people with certain digestive conditions are told to avoid too much roughage. That’s why they are looking for other foods that could have similar effects.
»RELATED: Make cauliflower and broccoli more compelling