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(January 15, 2009)

Why eat broccoli

Close-up of broccoli
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Some people love broccoli; others, not so much. But a study indicates there is something to love about broccoli and similar vegetables: they contain chemicals that can fight cancer.

At the University of California, Santa Barbara, Leslie Wilson says broccoli, cauliflower and others like that produce a chemical called sulforaphane. And he says that his lab work shows sulforaphane interferes with cell division in breast cancer cells.

[Leslie Wilson speaks] ``Sulforaphane acts like much more powerful anticancer drugs used for the treatment of breast cancer, but it is much less potent – which explains the lack of toxicity.’’

Wilson also says that any benefit shown against breast cancer cells would likely be true of some other forms of cancer as well.

The study in the journal Carcinogenesis was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: January, 15 2009