Throughout the year, broccoli is one of the most common vegetable available in supermarkets across the United States. It might not be a delicious food choice for some people, but it is well known for its outstanding nutritional benefits. Tremendous research has been done to determine the potential of broccoli in improving various human health conditions. According to the USDA’s nutrient database, boiled broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk. One medium spear has three times more fiber than a slice of wheat bran bread. Broccoli is also one of the richest sources of vitamin A.
But the real surprise is this vegetable’s potent cancer-fighting components.
What does new study reveal regarding benefits of broccoli towards cancer?
According to a new study published in May 2010 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, broccoli can prevent and treat breast cancer. The researchers found that a compound derived from broccoli – sulforaphane may kill breast cancer stem cells, which help tumors, grow. The research was conducted by co-author Duxin Sun, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy.
What studies were conducted to show effect of sulforaphane?
The researchers administered sulforaphane to mice with breast cancer and monitored the number of cancer stem cells in their tumors. They found that the mice treated with extract had fewer cells and that they couldn’t generate new tumors.
Further similar test were performed in humans by studying human breast cancer cells in a petri dish. The result revealed that the extract decreased the numbers of cancer stem cells by 65-80% and reduced the size of tumors.
These findings support the use of sulforaphane for the chemoprevention of breast cancer stem cells and warrant further clinical evaluation.
Do we know how much broccoli is needed to have positive cancer fighting effect?
Researcher says that this anti-cancer extract can be obtained by eating regular portions of broccoli, but they have not yet concluded what amount would be required to prevent or treat cancer. The amounts used in their study were higher than what you would get from a normal diet. Researchers are working on developing a supplement made from the broccoli extract to potentially treat cancer and further human trials will be done when the supplement has been formulated.
We all have eaten broccoli so far as a part of our diet, but this research opens up an opportunity to bring broccoli supplements in the market. This can be a breakthrough in natural products category. I look forward to the development of broccoli supplements, which show great health benefit for mankind.