"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Is this really necessary?

Another foodie post for you. After reading the comments after this article, it seems the overwhelming consensus is that scientists can't seem to leave well enough alone. I agree. I would have thought brocolli was already a perfect food!

Tweak Could Enhance Broccoli's Cancer-Busting Potential

Katie Drummond
Katie DrummondContributor
AOL News Surge Desk
(Oct. 22) -- Broccoli, a vegetable already renowned for its cancer-fighting potential, might now become an even more potent enemy to tumors everywhere. Scientists have made a key discovery into how the cruciferous veggie's compounds are used by the body, meaning that a little tinkering could make its protective powers even more effective.

Scientists at the University of Illinois are behind the discovery, which is published in the November issue of 
Food & Function. The team evaluated how sulforaphane, a well-known component of broccoli, is absorbed by bacteria in the intestine of rats, and then transferred to the body's blood stream.

The intestinal region studied in the rats bears striking similarity to the human colon, leading the researchers to suspect that our bodies might absorb sulforaphane in similar ways.

"This discovery raises the possibility that we will be able to enhance the activity of these bacteria in the colon, increasing broccoli's cancer-preventive power," Dr. Elizabeth Jeffery, a professor of human nutrition at the University of Illinois, 
said in a statement.

And broccoli over-cookers can keep dining on their limp, boiled veggies. Cooking destroys an important enzyme linked to sulforaphane production, but the team found that bacteria in the gut were able to "salvage" some of the compound regardless.

To get the cancer-killing benefits from broccoli, experts recommend three to five half-cup servings each week. But we might one day need to choke down even less, if researchers can find ways for people to improve their body's sulforaphane absorption abilities. 

"One way might be to feed the desirable bacteria with prebiotics like fiber to encourage their proliferation," said Michael Miller, another University of Illinois researcher. "Another way would be to use a probiotic approach -- combining, say, broccoli with a yogurt sauce that contains the hydrolyzing bacteria, and in that way boosting your cancer protection."

That's good news for former President George H.W. Bush (a notorious 
broccoli hater, if you recall).

And this is only one exciting research project to uncover sulforaphane's myriad powers against cancer. Earlier this year, scientists at the 
University of Michigan suggested that concentrated doses of sulforaphane could be used to target and treat breast cancer.

And on a final note, humans aren't the only species who can benefit from broccoli's 
health effects(though correct dosage is critical, since humans can eat a lot more of the stuff without getting sick). 

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