Saturday October 30,2010
By Victoria Fletcher, Health Editor
A NEW super-strength broccoli which could help slash the risk of cancer and heart disease has been bred by British scientists.
But the new strain of the vegetable contains concentrated levels of a natural compound that can protect against more killer conditions.
Researchers say they are now ready to test the broccoli on volunteers. It will be the first clinical trial of its kind.
They believe that tests will show that people who eat the new broccoli are less likely to suffer from tumours and heart problems.
A compound called sulforaphane found in broccoli has been shown to block genetic glitches that trigger tumours. Sulforaphane is obtained when it breaks down another compound found in broccoli called glucoraphanin.
But the human body may not get enough of these compounds just from eating normal broccoli once or twice a week. The new variety, developed in Norfolk, contains concentrated levels of glucoraphanin.
Dr Richard Mither of the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, one of the scientists behind the ground-breaking development, said: “It’s not genetically modified, it’s nothing to do with GM.
“It’s just a normal breeding programme.” Volunteers over the age of 50 are being sought to try eating either normal broccoli or the new super-broccoli for 12 weeks to examine the health effects. Some will be given peas instead for comparison, because they contain similar compounds but not glucoraphanin.
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