Can Broccoli Help Prevent Cancer?

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If you haven’t yet heard of the word “cruciferous,” then now’s your chance. It is the name for a family of vegetables that are among the strongest healing foods in the world. These natural foods are led by broccoli, and a brand new study has found that together they could help with cancer prevention.

Cruciferous vegetables are the subject of another of many health breakthroughs that science is making in the fight against cancer. “Sulforaphane,” one of the main phytochemicals in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, has been shown for the first time to selectively target and kill cancer cells. At the same time, it leaves healthy cells alone.

The findings are another important step forward for the potential use of sulforaphane in cancer prevention and treatment. Sulforaphane is able to stop “histone deacetylase” (HDAC) enzymes. This action is one of the more promising fields of cancer treatment.

Selectively targeting and killing cancer cells is like the holy grail of cancer prevention. Chemotherapy generally wipes out a whole area of the body, killing all cells in its path. The more we can understand how to kill only the cancer cells, the closer we come to beating the disease.

HDACs are a family of enzymes that, among other things, affect access to DNA and play a role in whether certain genes are expressed or not, such as tumor suppressor genes. Stopping HDACs helps restore normal cellular function, preventing the dangerous mutations that lead to cancer.

Previous studies in mice have shown that prostate tumor growth was slowed by a diet containing sulforaphane. So it’s time to stockpile your fridge with cruciferous vegetables. The family includes arugula, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and other dark green leafy vegetables. This is one safe and affordable way to help keep cancer from infiltrating your body.

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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »