Cancer sees red in green

Enter super broccoli

Published: Sunday 15 January 2006

scientists at uk's Institute of Food Research (ifr) are developing a super-broccoli with 3.4 times more sulforaphane -- an ingredient that protects against cancer -- than what is present in standard varieties.

The super variety could be available within three years, according to ifr scientists who are using traditional plant breeding methods to develop it.

The researchers say a gene called gstm 1 is essential for humans to make use of sulforaphane. However, the gene is absent in about half the human population, according to lead researcher Richard Mithen.

But consuming larger portions of broccoli, or opting for broccoli with higher levels of sulforaphane, such as the super-broccoli, may help people without gstm 1 to retain as much sulforaphane in their bodies as those who have the gene.

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