It’s long been thought that broccoli is good for your heart, and now British scientists think they know why.

Researchers at Imperial College London have found evidence a chemical in broccoli and other green leafy vegetables could boost a natural defense mechanism that protects arteries from the clogging that can cause heart attacks.


A substance found in broccoli may limit the damage which leads to serious lung disease, research suggests.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases asthma. In the United States, an estimated 10 million adults had a diagnosis of COPD in 2000, but data from a national health survey suggest that as many as 24 million Americans are affected.

Dr. Shyam Biswal from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and colleagues have found a correlation between more severe COPD and a decrease in lung concentrations of a specific protein called NRF2, which defends the lung against inflammation-related injury. Broccoli contains a compound that helps stabilize NRF2 levels in the lung.

The same broccoli compound was recently found to be protective against damage to blood vessels caused by diabetes.

Brassica vegetables such as broccoli have also been linked to a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.

In the latest study, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine team found significantly lower activity of the NRF2 gene in smokers with advanced COPD. Read the rest of this entry »

A concentrated extract of freeze-dried broccoli sprouts cut development of bladder tumors in an animal model by more than half, according to a report in the March 1 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. This finding reinforces human epidemiological studies that have suggested that eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli is associated with reduced risk for bladder cancer, according to the study’s senior investigator, Yuesheng Zhang, M.D. and professor of oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

There is strong evidence that the protective action of cruciferous vegetables derives at least in part from isothyiocyanates, a group of phytochemicals with well-known cancer preventive activities. Other cruciferous vegetables with ITCs include mature broccoli, cabbage, kale, collard greens and others. Broccoli sprouts have approximately 30 times more ITCs than mature broccoli, and the sprout extract used by the researchers contains approximately 600 times as much.

Although animals that had the most protection against development of bladder cancer were given high doses of the extract, Zhang said humans at increased risk for this cancer likely do not need to eat huge amounts of broccoli sprouts to derive protective benefits.