Eating broccoli with yogurt sounds like an improbable combination, but new research suggests that eating the two together could boost the cancer-fighting health benefits of broccoli. If you’re worried about cancer, there’s now a good reason to pair up these two superfoods – and enjoy them as a team.
Broccoli and Cancer: What are the Health Benefits of Broccoli?
Broccoli is a green vegetable that packs a wallop against cancer. Its active ingredient, sulforaphane, stops cancer growth in the laboratory – and in animals. It also increases the activity of enzymes in the liver that break down toxins and carcinogens that can lead to cancer. But that’s not all. It helps to fight Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria associated with stomach ulcers, while stamping out inflammation.
Yes, it’s hard to deny the health benefits of broccoli, but you have to eat a lot of it to get enough sulforaphane to count. Scientists recently discovered, working with rats, that good bacteria living in the lower intestines help the body absorb sulforaphane better. When these “good bacteria” in the gut do their job, you don’t need to eat large amounts to get the health benefits of broccoli.
Making the Health Benefits of Broccoli Even Greater
Now scientists are hoping to manipulate the bacteria in the lower intestines so they’ll better absorb the sulforaphane from broccoli. They believe that by supplying the gut with more of these friendly organisms, the health benefits of broccoli can be increased. One way to do that is to feed the body more probiotic bacteria like those found in yogurt with active probiotic cultures. Another approach is to eat more fiber to nourish the friendly bacteria and encourage them to proliferate.
Experts think that probiotic bacteria like the ones in yogurt enhance the immune system and help to fight off certain kinds of intestinal infections. The ability of these bacteria to boost the immune system also helps ward off cancer – so probiotics and sulforaphane are a powerful anti-cancer team.
Broccoli and Cancer: The Bottom Line?
There’s still a lot to learn about the health benefits of broccoli and the role that probiotics play in enhancing its cancer-fighting power. Until more is known, eat your broccoli, and for even more health benefits, dip it into a yogurt dip.
Mutat Res. 2007 May-Jun;635(2-3):90-104.
Eurekalert.org. “Discovery may help scientists boost broccoli’s cancer-fighting power”07 May-Jun;635(2-3):90-104.