Broccoli, not just good to eat

We’ve all been told to eat our vegetables.  A balanced diet promotes a healthy life, but a new study shows broccoli isn’t just good for nutrition, it can also protect against sun damage.  It’s not ready to be bottled like sunscreen, but researchers believe it does have the potential to prevent the harmful effects of the sun.

Really, broccoli?
“The results in human volunteers show that the degree of skin redness caused by UV rays is markedly reduced when the skin is covered with an extract from broccoli,” a press release stated.

“Unlike sunscreens, it does not absorb UV light and prevent its entry into the skin. Rather, the extract works inside cells by boosting the production of a network of protective enzymes that defend cells against many aspects of UV damage. Consequently, the effects are long-lasting; the protection lasts for several days, even after the extract is no longer present on or in the skin.”

Broccoli, a new tool against skin cancer
It’s true.  Researchers believe this green veggie that is tough to get kids to eat may actually be used in the future to prevent skin cancer.

“Treatment with this broccoli sprout extract might be another protective measure that alleviates the skin damage caused by UV radiation and thereby decreases our long-term risk of developing cancer,” Investigator Paul Talalay said.

The cancer-fighting extract
The protective chemical agent in the broccoli sprout extracts is sulforaphane.  Researchers treated several spots on the arm of six volunteers.  The volunteers were exposed to various amounts of UV rays in a small area, some of which covered with sulforaphane.   Spots covered with the extract were at least 37 percent less affected by the UV rays.

The future
Researchers say there may be a practical way to use sulforaphane, but it will need to be developed.

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