Broccoli shows promise against diabetes damage

Broccoli: The Super Food
Broccoli: The Super FoodCourtesy FIR0002
New research coming out of Britain shows eating broccoli may reverse damage done by diabetes to heart and blood vessels. I’m always glad to hear anything new about the benefits of broccoli. Not that I have diabetes – I don’t. But broccoli is my favorite vegetable, and besides its potentially new vascular benefits, the leafy vegetable is high in fiber, full of vitamins C and K, and nutrients that have been found to reduce the risk of some cancers. A member of the cabbage family (Brassica), broccoli, along with other vegetables in the genus (including brussel sprouts, cauliflower, turnips, kohlrabi, and mustard seed) has been linked to the reduction of strokes and heart attacks.

Diabetes is a serious metabolic disorder resulting in abnormally high levels of blood sugar (hyperglycemia). The disease can affect nearly every part of the body, and left untreated can lead to blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, and loss of limb. Diabetics have up to 5 times the risk of suffering from vascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes because of damaged blood vessels.

The current research involves the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, a product of another compound found in broccoli called glucoraphanin. Sulforaphane encourages production of enzymes that protect blood vessels, and reduce levels of cell-damaging molecules. When researchers at the University of Warwick tested the effects of sulforaphane on blood vessels damaged by hyperglycemia (high sugar levels), they noticed a nearly 75% reduction of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) molecules in the body. High levels of ROS -the result of increased blood sugar- can damage cells. The researchers noted sulforaphane also protected cells by triggering a protein that activated antioxidant enzymes.

“Our study suggests that compounds such as sulforaphane from broccoli may help counter processes linked to the development of vascular disease in diabetes,” said Professor Paul Thornalley of the University of Warwick. His team’s appears in the journal Diabetes. Thornalley added that he expects future tests of a brassica vegetable-rich diet could yield further health benefits for diabetic patients.

"It is encouraging to see that Professor Thornalley and his team have identified a potentially important substance that may protect and repair blood vessels from the damaging effects of diabetes,” said Dr Iain Frame, director of research at the charity Diabetes UK. "It also may help add some scientific weight to the argument that eating broccoli is good for you."

That brings to mind the time when the first president Bush said since he was president he didn’t have to eat broccoli anymore. (I think the quote was “Read my lips: no more broccoli”) Well, good for him. It just means more of the natural, leafy panacea for the rest of us.

BBC website story
American Diabetes Association
More on broccoli

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Lettgirl's picture
Lettgirl says:

Lett girl
Not only is broccoli in the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and kohlrabi, they are all the same species. I wonder sulforaphane is found in any of these others.

posted on Fri, 08/08/2008 - 2:30pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Yep, it looks like lots of yummy vegetables contain sulforaphane like brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, collards, broccoli sprouts, chinese broccoli, broccoli raab, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, radish, rocket, and watercress....according to wikipedia. More sources for this same information here, here (pretty picture), and here.

posted on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 11:16pm
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Yes it is. Go here.

posted on Fri, 08/08/2008 - 3:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

who cares about broccoli!

posted on Sun, 08/10/2008 - 9:02am
An informed teen's picture
An informed teen says:

Wow! I had no idea!

And, if I heard correctly, the former president also said the same line on taxes. I wonder if now he'll go back on his broccoli promise too. =]

posted on Mon, 08/11/2008 - 10:08am
jazznell's picture
jazznell says:

THATS AWESOME I love the stuff

posted on Mon, 08/11/2008 - 3:08pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

its good for oyou

posted on Sat, 08/30/2008 - 9:56am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Here's even more possible benefits from eating broccoli.

posted on Sun, 09/14/2008 - 3:17pm
sandy09's picture
sandy09 says:

i guess broccoli is ok...

posted on Thu, 01/29/2009 - 1:56pm

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