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Broccoli, Cancer's Nemesis.
Oct 29, 2018

The specially developed broccoli called Benforte was developed from an especially bitter, wild variety from Italy.

According to scientists at the Institute of Food Research, the wild variety has more glucoraphenin. They say this naturally occurring compound transforms in the gut forming another substance which can reduce inflammation and stop the uncontrolled cell division which occurs in the early stages of cancer.

Unlike drugs which target one thing, when glucoraphenin is broken down it makes another compound called sulphoraphane. This travels through the gut wall to the bloodstream, which carries it round the body.


As it comes into contact with our cells it switches on our detoxification system, suppresses cell multiplication which leads to hormonal cancers and reduces the chronic inflammatory responses we tend to suffer as we get older.

The broccoli research was led by the Institute's Professor Richard Mithen. He says he and colleagues cross-bred traditional British broccoli with the Sicilian variety which has no flowery head, but a big dose of glucoraphenin.

"When you eat this broccoli, what this does is it helps your fat to metabolize much faster and so you get a decrease in a certain number of fats, particularly one called cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. So, you get a reduction in cholesterol in your blood stream and that means you're less likely to suffer from atherosclerosis and thickening of the artery."

But if we can boost the benefits of broccoli, why aren't there other disease busting vegetables?

Dieticians dismiss the notion of super foods because usually, all healthy fruit and vegetables are beneficial.


According to Mithen the new broccoli has become more like something you'd find in a medicine cabinet.

"Many people would say these vegetables are a medicine cabinet already and certainly there's lots of evidence that if you eat a variety of vegetables you're likely to maintain good health. Now, it's probably true that each of these individual vegetables are different chemicals which if we slightly increase may enhance the health, but actually we don't really have much knowledge about which ones at the moment."

A lot of study has been focused on broccoli, but scientists like Mithen argue much more research needs to be done in order to find out the concentrated effects of compounds found in other fresh groceries.

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