A study of cruciferous varieties such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower or Bok choy, as well as broccoli, has shown that eating the green vegetables can possibly curb the onset of osteoarthritis by releasing a molecule that prevents inflammation. Mice were fed a diet rich in the compound sulforaphane and the results showed that those receiving the diet had less joint cartilage damage as compared to the rodents that did not receive the diet.
Led by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA), the study proposes that the compound sulforaphane is the key ingredient that influences overall joint health. Previous studies of the compound have already shown it to possess both anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory traits.
The first study of its kind to show a direct link between the compound and the desired results, researchers are enthusiastic about the possibilities that further investigation could provide. Professor of musculoskeletal biology and lead researcher of the study Ian Clark wants to know that it works as well in humans as it does in mice.
Planning a small trial of 40 osteoarthritis patients on the list for joint replacement, Professor Clark states that, “It would be very powerful if we could”. Half of individuals in the trial will be given a diet of super broccoli containing high concentrations of the sulforaphane. After the replacement surgery patients that were given the “super’ diet will be compared to those that didn't receive it in order to gauge the presence of the compound in their joints as well as the impact on their overall joint health.
Broccoli is from a family of cruciferous vegetable high in cancer and cholesterol fighting anti-oxidants. Primarily a cool weather crop as are most of those listed, broccoli can be planted from later spring to early fall in zones 3 to 10 (the Delaware valley is zone 6A).
Source: Medical News Today, Eating broccoli may help prevent osteoarthritis, Catherine Paddock, PhD