British researchers believe that eating lots of broccoli may slow down and even prevent osteoarthritis.
The University of East Anglia team is starting human trials following on from successful lab studies.
Tests on cells and mice showed that a broccoli compound – which humans can also get from Brussels sprouts and cabbage – blocked a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage.
Researchers are asking 20 patients to eat a daily dose of “super-charged” broccoli.
This special cruciferous vegetable has been bred to be extra rich in nutrients – it is a cross between standard broccoli and a wild relative from Sicily.
Our body takes this glucoraphanin compound and turns it into another, called sulforaphane, which appears to protect the joints.
The volunteers will have two weeks on the diet before going under the knife to have their badly arthritic knees repaired by surgeons.
Dr. Rose Davidson and her team will look at the tissue that has been removed to see what impact, if any, the broccoli has had.
British researchers believe that eating lots of broccoli may slow down and even prevent osteoarthritis
She said: “We’re asking patients to eat 100 g [3.5oz] every day for two weeks. That’s a normal, good-sized serving – about a handful – and it’s an amount that most people should be happy to eat every day.”
While two weeks is highly unlikely to be enough to cause any big change, Dr. Rose Davidson hopes it will be enough to offer some evidence that “super” broccoli could benefit humans.
“I can’t imagine it would repair or reverse arthritis… but it might be a way to prevent it,” she said.
Her team will be looking for proof that sulforaphane has travelled to where it is needed in the joint and that it is causing beneficial changes at the cellular level.
Another 20 knee replacement patients who have not been on the diet will be used as a comparison group.
Prof. Alan Silman, of Arthritis Research UK, which is funding Dr. Rose Davidson’s work, said: “Until now research has failed to show that food or diet can play any part in reducing the progression of osteoarthritis, so if these findings can be replicated in humans, it would be quite a breakthrough.
“We know that exercise and keeping to a healthy weight can improve people’s symptoms and reduce the chances of the disease progressing, but this adds another layer in our understanding of how diet could play its part.”
The results of Dr. Rose Davidson’s animal trials are published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.
The special broccoli, known as Beneforte, was developed from publicly funded research at the UK’s Institute of Food Research and the John Innes Centre.
President Barack Obama has declared on Wednesday that his favorite food is broccoli after nearly 25 years since President George H. W. Bush divided the nation saying that he hated the nutritious green veggie.
One Republican commenter went so far as to say the comment shows that President Barack Obama is elitist.
Comedy Central‘s political blog mocked the answer and said the president must be lying.
“Obama tells kid journalist his favorite food is broccoli. And his favorite activity is lying to children,” tweeted “Indecision”.
Barack Obama made the comment as he addressed student reporters at the White House Kids’ State Dinner on Tuesday.
The White House event was part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s push to get kids to eat healthier.
Twitter and the Beltway gossip crowd almost immediately began to froth at the mouth.
President Barack Obama has declared that his favorite food is broccoli after nearly 25 years since President George H. W. Bush said that he hated the nutritious green veggie
“What kind of POTUS says his fav food is Broccoli?” CNN commentator Ari Fleischer, who worked as George W. Bush’s press secretary, tweeted.
“Same one who in 2008 complained about the price of arugula at Whole Foods.”
Numerous serious journalists chimed in on the scandal, which was quickly deemed “broccoli-gate”.
“Everyone CALM DOWN! We have charts about broccoli,” Ezra Klein of the Washington Post tweeted.
BuzzFeed‘s Andrew Kaczynski soon after tweeted a Photoshopped picture of Obama as a head of broccoli.
The mostly-humorous debate threatened to turn serious when Breitbart.com wrote that Andrew Kaczynski was an “Obama-sycophant”.
The site claimed the story was actually an Obama spin machine attempt to make liberal news outlets look like they were criticizing the president.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush famously denounced the veggie and banned it from being served at White House dinners.
“I do not like broccoli, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!” he said.
Furious broccoli farmers sent truckloads of their produce to Washington to protest the denigration of their beloved crop.
Barack Obama could be on the winning side of history with this answer – whether it is to be believed or not.
It is prized as a healthy food – one cup of steamed broccoli contains just 51 calories, one gram of fat and 5 grams of fiber, as well as high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron and protein.
The vegetable’s popularity has soared since President H.W. Bush maligned it in 1990. Consumption of broccoli has more than tripled in the last 30 years to nearly 5 and a half pounds per person per year in America.