Maximizing Broccoli's Cancer-Fighting Potential

Friday, 18 Oct 2013 10:15 AM

By Nick Tate

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Broccoli is already a well-known super nutritious food with many compounds believed to combat cancer. But researchers have found that spraying a plant hormone on broccoli boosts its cancer-fighting potential even more.

The findings, published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, offer new insights into the vegetable's beneficial properties and could help scientists build a better, more healthful broccoli.

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Lead researcher John Juvik noted diet is one of the most important factors influencing a person's chances of developing cancer and that cruciferous vegetables — such as broccoli, kale, and cabbage — are among the most potent cancer fighters. Eating broccoli regularly has been linked to lower rates of prostate, colon, breast, lung, and skin cancers.

The new research found that key compounds in broccoli — known as glucosinolates (GSs) — can boost the levels of a broccoli enzyme that helps rid the body of carcinogens. Juvik's team also found that spraying a plant hormone called methyl jasmonate on broccoli increases GSs levels.
The researchers said the findings could be used to identify superior broccoli and to breed even more healthful broccoli plants.

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