Researchers have detected compounds in broccoli that may prevent cancer.
The scientists isolated compounds called glucosinolates from broccoli sprouts. During chopping, chewing and digestion, these phytochemicals morph into nutritional powerhouses called isothiocyanates — compounds that the scientists believed play a role in inhibiting cancer.
When the scientists treated human and mouse bladder cancer cells with isothiocyanates proliferation decreased. The strongest effect was on the most aggressive cell type — human invasive transitional cell carcinoma.
While young sprouts naturally have higher concentrations of these phytochemicals than full-grown broccoli spears, eating the spears also provides health benefits, confirms co-author Steven Schwartz.
“There’s no reason to believe that this is the only compound in broccoli that has an anti-cancer effect,” comments study co-author Steven Clinton. “There are at least a dozen interesting compounds in the vegetable.
“Cruciferous veggies have an effect on other types of cancer, too,” Schwartz added. “We already know that they contain compounds that help detoxify carcinogens. We’re thinking more along the lines of progression and proliferation, such as once cancer starts, is there a way to slow it down?”
Institute of Food Technologists – July 18.