Broccoli the Superfood

Fresh green vegetable, isolated over whiteYour mother always told you to eat your broccoli for a reason. According to a recent study released by Arthritis and Rheumatism August 28, the leafy green vegetable may help slow down arthritis. Researchers from the University of East Anglia is set to begin human trials after lab studies showed that the sulforaphane in broccoli improved joint problems in cows and mice. Additionally, a 2010 lab-based study published in the European Journal of Dentistry found broccoli to offer great benefits to the tooth’s enamel. So, filling up a plate with fresh broccoli may help stave off osteoarthritis and keep you from needing cavity treatments.

Health benefits
Researchers at the University of East Anglia examined the health of human cartilage cells and cow cartilage tissue to find its effects on joint health specifically. Previous research found vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. The study concluded that mice that were fed a diet rich in sulforaphane had much less cartilage damage than the mice that did not eat the compound. As there is no cure or treatment to effectively combat osteoarthritis, the researchers believe that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables can be an ideal preventative measure.

“As well as treating those who already have the condition, you need to be able to tell healthy people how to protect their joints into the future,” Professor of musculoskeletal biology at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, U.K, and study author Dr. Ian Clark, said. “There is currently no way in to the disease pharmaceutically and you cannot give healthy people drugs unnecessarily, so this is where diet could be a safe alternative.”

Similarly, because obesity plays such a significant role in arthritis, eating a healthy and well-rounded diet can significantly reduce weight loss. This would decrease the amount of pressure put on joints, and in turn help to stave off joint issues.

Researchers intend to perform a small scale trial where half of the 40 patients will receive doses of ‘super broccoli’ with a high value of sulforaphane. These individuals will eat the vegetable for two weeks prior to an operation on the joints, which is when researchers will determine if the health of the joints has improved.

The patients will all be undergoing knee operations for arthritis, and 20 of them will be asked to consume 100 grams of broccoli every day, which is a normal portion of the vegetable. If the test shows beneficial results, it could be a breakthrough in the medical community, although scientists argue that it will likely not reverse the disease.

Oral health benefits
The iron in broccoli, which can also be found in leafy greens like spinach, forms an acid-resistant film on the teeth that protects against soda consumption and coffee. Enamel, which cannot grow back, keeps the teeth strong and resistant to tooth decay and inevitably cavity treatments.

In the same vein, the film formed by broccoli can protect against stains on your teeth, making it a natural preventative measure to keep those pearly whites. The 2010 study found that eating broccoli before erosive materials, such as soda, significantly reduces the impact acid has on the teeth.

“The teeth and gums mirror what’s going on in the rest of your body. Therefore, what you consume influences the health of your smile,” Dr. Shawn Frawley said in a news release from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. “That’s why it’s important to think carefully about making the right food choices.”

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