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Broccoli Can Reverse Diabetes Damage

Broccoli burgers offered by McDonalds to reduce diabetes risk. Not really, but why not? President George H. W. Bush famously said that he didn’t like broccoli, and since he was president, he didn’t have to eat it. But if the former president is ever diagnosed with diabetes, he may allow broccoli on his plate after all. New research from the University of Warwick in England found that eating broccoli could reverse the vascular damage to blood vessels caused by diabetes.

The scientists believe the chemical in broccoli responsible for the heart-healthy effect is sulforaphane, which promotes the creating of enzymes that protect blood vessels, and reduces the amounts of molecules called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) that cause cell damage.

Crucifer vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, have been tied to a lower risk of strokes and heart attacks. High blood sugar levels can cause levels of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) to increase three-fold. But sulforaphane activates a protein called nrf2 which protects the vessels and lowers the increase of ROS by 73 percent.
“Our study suggests that compounds such as sulforaphane from broccoli may help counter processes linked to the development of vascular disease in diabetes,” said Warwick Professor Paul Thornalley. He added that in the future it will be important to see if eating a diet rich in broccoli and other crucifer vegetables will benefit diabetics. “We believe it will,” he said.

Diabetes, August 2008 A copy of the paper can be found online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/db06-1003v1

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