How broccoli protects arteries

16 September 2009

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Category: Research & medical benefits

broccoli.jpgResearchers have discovered one reason why broccoli and other green leafy vegetables are definitely good for you. Using mice, they discovered that a chemical found in these green vegetables – sulforaphane – could protect arteries from clogging, so reducing the chance of heart attacks.

Previous research has shown that certain areas of the arteries such as bends and branches are more prone to the build up of fatty plaques. The mouse study showed that, in these areas, a protein called Nrf2 is inactive. Responsible for breaking down clots, the lack of Nrf2 is one of the reasons why these areas are more vulnerable, so the team looked for a compound that would switch the protein back on.

Sulforaphane was able to switch on Nrf2, and so boost the body's natural defence mechanisms against plaque build up in the mice. The team are now testing the effects of the vegetable form of sulforaphane, and they are confident that there is a strong argument for producing it as a pill.