Gloria Hunniford talks about her daughter's battle with cancer
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Not all cancers can be prevented, but there is scientific proof that healthy dietary patterns confer some level of protection against the disease. Phytonutrients, in particular, are recommended as they may work together to lower cancer risk. One vegetable abundant in such phytochemicals may reduce cancer cells by 75 percent.
Broccoli packs several antioxidants that have wide-reaching health implications, including cancer growth, inflammation and mental decline.
Among the most important is kaempferol; a major compound in broccoli sprouts after hydrolysis.
It has been shown in several studies to reduce the risk of chronic disease by augmenting the body’s antioxidant defence against free radicals.
There are several other beneficial components of broccoli, however, including:
- Vitamin C
- Dietary fibre
Viyaja Surampudi, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Humans at UCLA Health, some compounds may be more apt to reduce cancer growth.
The professor explained: “There have been studies on this dating back to 1997 […].
“Since then, we have found that there are anti-carcinogenic properties found in broccoli sprouts.
“With broccoli, specifically, there is a high amount of a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which is a cancer-fighting plant compound that has been linked to reducing the risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and oral cancers.”
This compound is also present in other vegetables such as kale, cabbage, garden cress and cauliflower, but broccoli is the best source.
Scientists continue to research how sulforaphane might reduce cancer risk, from detoxifying harmful substances in the body to operating as an antimicrobial agent, reports WebMD.
In one test-tube study published in the journal of Clinical Cancer Research in 2010, researchers observed the effects of broccoli on breast cancer cells.
Their findings showed that the photochemical sulforaphane “reduced the size and number of cancer cells by up to 75 percent”, reported Healthline.
“These findings support the use of sulforaphane for the chemoprevention of breast cancer stem cells and warrant further clinical evaluation,” noted the study authors.
Similar findings were replicated in a study on prostate cancer, published in the medical journal Carcinogenesis.
Mice treated with sulforaphane saw the phytochemical kill off prostate cancer cells and reduce tumour volume by more than 50 percent.
Several other cancers may succumb to the chemopreventive effects of sulforaphane.
According to WebMD: “Broccoli and its cousins are most protective against cancers of the prostate, lung, colon, breast, bladder, liver, neck, head, mouth, oesophagus, and stomach.”
There are several ways in which broccoli’s phytonutrients may help do this, including helping regulate hormones and oestrogen.
Sometimes these chemicals slow cancer cell growth and block inflammation, and help lower the risk of damage caused by oxidants.
Although more research is needed on humans, there is ample evidence that broccoli is among the foods with the strongest links to cancer prevention.
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