-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The way you prepare broccoli
and related vegetables can alter their potentially cancer-fighting
powers, new research shows.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are a good source of
sulforaphane, a phytochemical (naturally occurring plant compound)
that has shown strong anti-cancer properties in lab studies.
However, the enzyme myrosinase in broccoli is needed for
sulforaphane to form. If the myrosinase is destroyed, sulforaphane
Researchers compared boiled, microwaved and steamed broccoli,
and found that steaming broccoli for up to five minutes was the
best way to retain its myrosinase. Boiling and microwaving broccoli
for one minute or less destroyed the majority of the enzyme,
according to Elizabeth Jeffery, a researcher at University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jeffery also found that if you do eat well-cooked broccoli, you
can still get sulforaphane to form by adding raw foods containing
myrosinase to your meal. Study participants ate a broccoli
supplement with no active myrosinase. When some of them ate a
second food with myrosinase, their blood and urine levels of
sulforaphane were significantly higher than those who did not eat
the second food with myrosinase.
The findings were presented Thursday at the annual meeting of
the American Institute for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Md.
Findings presented at medical meetings should be viewed as
preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
"Mustard, radish, arugula, wasabi and other uncooked cruciferous vegetables such as coleslaw all contain myrosinase, and we've seen this can restore the formation of sulforaphane," Jeffery said in an institute news release.
Previous research has found that:
"As we're learning, food processing isn't just what happens to food before it reaches the grocery shelves," AICR associate director of nutrition programs Alice Bender said in the news release. "This research highlights that what you do in your kitchen can make those fruits and vegetables on your plate even more cancer-protective."
The American Cancer Society explains lifestyle choices that can
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