September 5, 2009

Broccoli Might Help Fight Off Heart Attacks

Broccoli has long been hailed as a heart healthy food, and now British scientists are certain that they know why.

Researchers at Imperial College London have discovered a chemical in broccoli that could create a defense mechanism to shield arteries from heart attacks.

The researchers found that sulforaphane, a chemical that broccoli is full of, could "switch on" a defensive protein.

"We know that vegetables are clearly good for you, but surprisingly the molecular mechanisms of why they are good for you have remained unknown for many years," said Paul Evans of the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College.

"This study provides a possible explanation for how green vegetable consumption can promote a healthy heart."

Scientists were aware that arteries do not clog in just one way, but that the blood vessels are much more likely to increase with fatty plaques.

Evans noted that his research discovered that susceptible areas called Nrf2 are stationary.

"What our study showed was that sulforaphane can protect those regions by switching on the Nrf2," he stated.

The study was published in the journal Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Researchers note that the next step was to further experiment with the chemical.

"We now need to go and test this with broccoli smoothies, as it were, and compare that with the effect of purified sulforaphane," Evans said.


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