Broccoli has been hailed by scientists as a ‘super food’ for joints which could cure millions of arthritis sufferers.
The green vegetable is rich in the compound sulforaphane and initial research has suggested this may play a key role in protecting bones and joints and stop them from wasting away.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia have found the chemical blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction in osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis.
The team are now launching a new project that they hope will lead to a new broccoli-based treatment for Britain’s six million arthritis sufferers.
Professor Ian Clark said: ‘We all know broccoli is good for you but this is the first time it has been linked to a osteoarthritis.
‘We know there is a chemical, sulforaphane, in broccoli that can slow down cartilage destruction and we want to see if this can actually get into the joints and stop the progress of the condition.
Broccoli (from the Italian plural of broccolo, referring to “the flowering top of a cabbage”) is a plant of the mustard/cabbage family Brassicaceae (formerly Cruciferae). It is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli has large flower heads, usually green in color, arranged in a tree-like fashion on branches sprouting from a thick, edible stalk. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Many varieties of broccoli are perennial. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species.
Broccoli is high in vitamins C, K, and A, as well as dietary fiber; it also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small amounts of selenium. A single serving provides more than 30 mg of Vitamin C and a half-cup provides 52 mg of Vitamin C. The 3,3′-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity.
Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled. Broccoli is also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Broccoli has the highest levels of carotenoids in the brassica family. It is particularly rich in lutein and also provides beta-carotene.
A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.Broccoli consumption has also been shown to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease.
an Clark, lead author of the study, stated that “developing new strategies for combating age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis is vital – to improve the quality of life for sufferers but also to reduce the economic burden on society.”
Individuals who are looking for another natural alternative to preventing osteoarthritis may benefit from eating cherries, as a study conducted by researchers from the U.S. Agricultural Research Service found that adding the fruit to one’s diet may protect against developing joint degeneration.