Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) have found that a compound derived from broccoli may help prevent or treat breast cancer by targeting breast cancer stem cells - those cells that fuel a tumor's growth.
Members of U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and the College of Pharmacy studied the effects of on breast cancer stem cells in mice. Having established the number of cancer stem cells in the the individual tumors, the scientists first experimented by injecting varying amount of sulforaphane into the mice tumors.
The U-M researchers observed that the number of cancer stem cells in the mouse tumors markedly decreased with no impact on the normal cells. Additionally, they found that the cancer cells of sulforaphane-treated mice did not generate new tumors.
Though no clinical studies have been conducted on breast cancers in women, the researchers did test the sulforaphane on human breast cancer cells in the lab, and found similar decreases in the cancer stem cells.
“This research suggests a potential new treatment that could be combined with other compounds to target breast cancer stem cells. Developing treatments that effectively target the cancer stem cell population is essential for improving outcomes,” says study author Max S. Wicha, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Oncology and director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Though sulforaphane is available in capsule form as food supplements and, of course, broccoli and brocco-sprouts contain fairly high concentrations of sulforaphane, the concentrations of sulforaphane used in these studies were much higher than can be eaten.
The U-M team will continue their research by developing a sulforaphane extract to test as a prevention and treatment for breast cancer in human clinical trials.
The researchers advise against taking the sulforaphane supplements because they say that concentrations are unregulated. But hey, it can't hurt to eat a lot of broccoli!
Broccoli nutrition facts are astounding.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables that includes cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, rutabaga, kale, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and mustard greens.
The nutritional value of broccoli combined with its low calories make this vegetable a must have on any healthy eating plan.
Broccoli Nutrition Facts
There is a high level of vitamin C in broccoli.
Broccoli is also packed with vitamin A, beta carotene, B vitamins especially B3 and B5, folic acid, phosphorus, potassium, iron, chromium, which is an easily absorbed form of calcium, zinc and lots of fiber.
It's also loaded with carotenoids - antioxidants that are thought to help with weight loss.
Health Benefits of BroccoliBroccoli and Cancer
Broccoli helps fight cancer, especially breast, colon and lung. It boosts the immune system.
Broccoli also contains antioxidants and a substance called sulforaphane, which research is showing to be a powerful cancer fighter and preventer.
Broccoli and Heart Disease There is strong evidence that broccoli may reduce the risk of heart disease. It is an antioxidant and helps with stress.More Broccoli Nutrition Facts
Broccoli also lowers the incidence of cataracts and is considered energy boosting. Its high calcium content builds bones.
Broccoli's "sister vegetable", cauliflower, is also a mild anti-allergic. It encourages the production of antibodies and is thought to help protect against allergy, asthma, migraine and depression.Hints about how to cook Broccoli:
Avoid over cooking broccoli as about half of its beneficial substances may be destroyed in the process. Also, microwaving is thought to remove valuable nutrients from broccoli.
Light steaming is best. Steam the broccoli for just a couple of minutes, until it turns bright green. Stop cooking while still has a bit of firmness to it.How to get more Broccoli in your diet:
You can see that the health benefits of broccoli are vast. It is certainly worth it to get this vegetable in our diets on a regular basis.
- The cauliflower a good alternative
- Add broccoli and cauliflower to soups and stews.
- Eat broccoli or cauliflower raw or lightly steamed with dip or pour a bit of vinaigrette over it.
- Chop lightly steamed broccoli and cauliflower and add to a pasta salad.