Does it feel like you’re always hearing good news about broccoli? That’s because each research study reveals just a small piece of a complex nutritional and medicinal puzzle.
The latest research’published in the scientific journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research‘ looks at the safety of sulforaphane, the compound in broccoli that has shown promise for its ability to target cancer. But to be used as a preventative treatment, this phytonutrient must also be safe to consume in the quantities necessary to prevent or treat cancers.
In a release from Oregon State University‘where the study was carried out’researcher Emily Ho commented that just because a phytochemical or nutrient is found in food doesn’t always means its safe, as a lot can depend on the form or levels in which it’s consumed. "But [sulforaphane] does appear to be a phytochemical that can selectively kill cancer cells, and that’s always what you look for in cancer therapies," she said.
The study showed for the first time that sulforaphane selectively targets prostate cancer cells, while leaving normal prostate cells unaffected. Again this is important to know before the compound is tested as a potential treatment.
Sulforaphane is found in high levels in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (including cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale). The results also suggest that consumption of sulforaphane-rich foods is a safe, simple and affordable healthy habit.
So toss a broccoli or two into your grocery basket (it will be awhile before you’ll find it at farmers’ markets) and try some of these Best Health recipes: Broccoli, Cauliflower and Leek Soup (which features two sulforaphane-containing cruciferous vegetables), Spicy Garlic Vegetable Stir-Fry (you could also toss in some kale) and Indian Chicken and Broccoli Wrap (be sure to try the accompanying Cucumber and Tomato Raita).
What’s your favourite way to add broccoli (or other cruciferous veggies) to your day?