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Broccoli for Healthy Joints

There's new hope in the search for a way to help slow or prevent arthritis: eating broccoli. Researchers in England are examining evidence suggesting that sulforaphane, a compound in broccoli, helps deter the arthritic process and provides long-term benefits for joint health. Initial laboratory research indicated that sulforaphane can block the enzymes that cause joint destruction. The same substance is also thought to suppress tumors, which would make it protective against cancer as well. We know that eating broccoli leads to a high level of sulforaphane in the blood, but the British researchers want to determine how it gets into joints, and how much would be needed to prevent or treat osteoarthritis, a joint disease that gradually destroys cartilage leading to pain, swelling and loss of mobility. The same British team is also investigating the effects of other dietary compounds on arthritis, including diallyl disulphide, which is found in garlic.

My take? Every child is aware that eating broccoli is good for you. Population studies have shown that people who eat a lot of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have lower rates of cancer than those who don't. We don't yet know, however, which constituents in these vegetables are responsible for their protective effects. It may be indole-3 carbinol, which some lab studies show inhibits growth of some types of cancer, the carotenoid pigments, vitamin C, or the sulforaphane. The cancer-protective effects observed could also be due to two or more of these components acting together. I'll be interested in the outcome of the British study, but in the meantime, eating plenty of broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables) seems a simple and prudent strategy to support a healthy lifestyle.

Find broccoli recipes in my healthy kitchen.

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Reader Comments (5)

When I was actively body building there was a rumor going around my training group. We all knew brocolli was good for us so we ate a lot of it. However, they were incisting it boosted muscle growth and testosterone levels. I could never find any scientific support of this but none the less it intrigued me. Is there any truth to this?

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Jeschke

My favorite preparation is with a bit of olive oil and minced garlic, tossed in a pan until it's a little toasty- delish! :)

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

Love it raw with blue cheese dressing as a dip. Oddly enough they don't use bue cheese here in Germany much for dressing.

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVerena

We know broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are good for you, but what if they give you a stomach ache??

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDT

I steam my broccoli, add a tsp. of Eden Foods Olive Oil and a few shakes of Eden Shake (Sesame and Sea Vegetable Seasoning) it is good!

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah
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