Broccoli helps combat type 2 diabetes

19 June 2017

Broccoli contains a compound that helps treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels.

Broccoli has just been named Britain’s favourite vegetable, beating off the likes of tomatoes and sweetcorn to be crowned the winner.

And it’s not a surprise to see why this tree-like plant is loved by so many as not only is it tasty raw and cooked, but it also has countless health benefits.

According to a new study, broccoli contains a compound known as sulforaphane that helps treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels.

Researchers followed 97 obese patients with type 2 diabetes for 12 weeks, giving a select number concentrated broccoli sprout as part of their diet. Those who ate this saw their fasting blood glucose levels drop dramatically compared to participants who received a placebo.

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Sulforaphane is found in other cruciferous vegetables such as Brussel sprouts and cabbage and its positive effects mean it’s being lauded as a great way for people to keep themselves healthy.

As some medicines to treat diabetes, such as the common Metformin, cannot be taken by patients due to the negative impact it has on their kidneys, broccoli has proved to be a key vegetable for people with the condition.

“Since sulforaphane has very few side effects and can easily be provided as a broccoli shake or drink - for example - it has the potential to become an important complement to existing treatment options for type 2 diabetes,” Professor Anders Rosengren of Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden said.

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“We will now work to make broccoli sprout extract available to produce as a functional food.”

While Professor Rosengren stressed the importance of eating healthily overall and leading an active lifestyle to help fend off diabetes, this study identified sulforaphane as the most promising compound.

Experts first tested on diabetic rats, screening almost 4,000 compounds, and found sulforaphane improved the symptoms most and changed the liver gene expression in the rodents.

Results are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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