Eating a couple ounces of broccoli each day may decrease the risk of developing stomach illnesses like ulcers or cancer, reports Health.
Sulforaphane, a protective chemical found in broccoli sprouts, is thought to reduce the effects of the carcinogen H. pylori, which is responsible for gastric cancer and stomach damage that includes ulcers. To test this theory, researchers in Japan assembled 48 people that are infected with H. plyori.
“In Japan there is infection at levels approaching 90 percent because of crowding and poor economic conditions,” said Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Researcher Jed W. Fahey, who’s work led to this study. By comparison, America has about a 25 to 30 percent rate of infection.
Of the 48 participants, half consumed 70 grams of broccoli sprouts each day while the other half ate alfalfa sprouts, which do not contain the protectivesulforaphane. In eight weeks the people that ate broccoli had much lower levels of H. plyori while the alfafa group had no reduction in infection levels.
“I have to be careful about how enthusiastically I state the case,” said Jed. “This was a small trial. But the evidence is all pointing toward broccoli or broccoli sprouts being able to prevent cancer in humans.”
Interestingly, sulforaphane seems to only be effective when people eat broccoli, not when taken as a pill.
“It’s probably a combination of ingredients in the plant that is responsible,” Jed said. “When you try to extract them out to make a pill, it usually doesn’t work.”
The good news is that you only need two or three ounces of cooked broccoli each day to protect yourself. If you’re concerned about your tummy health, try sprinkling a few ounces of broccoli sprouts over a salad to get your dose of sulforaphane.
— Whitney Teal