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Boosting Cancer-fighting Health Benefits in Broccoli

Update Date: Oct 18, 2013 05:33 PM EDT

As if broccoli isn't healthy enough researchers say it can be made healthier so that consumers can reap more of the cancer-fighting benefits.

In a new study, researcher John Juvik and others tested several plant hormones on broccoli to determine which one had the best health enhancement on the vegetable.

According to the researchers, a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and cabbage could prevent ones chances of developing cancer. 

How does broccoli do this?

The American Chemical Society explains: "In that super food, glucosinolates (GSs) and the substances that are left when GSs are broken down can boost the levels of a broccoli enzyme that helps rid the body of carcinogens."

How does the ACS want to make broccoli healthier?

"One way to increase GSs is to spray a plant hormone called methyl jasmonate on broccoli. This natural hormone protects the plants against pests.

For the study, researchers took five commercial types of broccoli and tested them by spraying them with the hormone. 

Researchers found that of the broken down GS, sulforaphane boosted the broccoli's enzyme levels the most. 

"They say that this information could be used to identify superior broccoli and to breed even more healthful broccoli plants," said ACS.

The findings were published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry.

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