October 27, 2011 by staff
Super Broccoli, Popeye might consider switching to broccoli. British scientists discovered a new breed of plant experts say it packs a big hit of nutrition.
The new broccoli grown especially to hold two or three times the normal amount of glucoraphanin, a nutrient believed to help prevent heart disease.
“Vegetables are a medicine cabinet now,” said Richard Mithen, who led the team of scientists from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, England, who has developed the new broccoli. “When you eat this broccoli … you get a reduction of cholesterol in the bloodstream,” he told Associated Press Television.
An AP reporter who knew that broccoli new found was the same as regular broccoli. Scientists, however, said it should taste slightly sweet as it contains less sulfur.
Glucoraphanin works by breaking down fat in the body, preventing clogged arteries. Only found in broccoli in significant quantities.
To build the plant, which is sold as “super broccoli”, Mithen and colleagues crossbred a traditional British broccoli with a wild variety, bitter Sicilian has no head of flowers, and a large dose of glucoraphanin. After 14 years, the hybrid was higher, which has been granted a patent by the European authorities. No genetic modification was used.
It was on sale from select retailers Beneforte California and Texas last year, and hit the British this month. Later this fall, the broccoli will be launched in the U.S.
The super vegetable is part of a growing trend among producers to pump more nutrients in foods, from calcium-fortified orange juice fortified with sugary cereal and milk with added omega 3 fatty acids. In Britain, the new broccoli is sold as part of a line of vegetables including mushrooms with more vitamin D, and tomatoes and potatoes with the addition of selenium.
Not enough information to know if anyone can overdose on glucoraphanin, but vitamin D and selenium in very high quantities can be toxic.
Mithen and colleagues are conducting human trials comparing the heart health of people eating the super broccoli to eat broccoli or broccoli that usually does not. They plan to send the data to the European Food Safety Agency next year to be able to say that ads that broccoli is good for health.
“There are a lot of circumstantial evidence that points (glucoraphanin and related compounds) as the most important preventive agents for the (heart attacks) and certain types of cancer, so it’s a reasonable thing to do,” said Lars Ove Dragsted, a professor in the department of human nutrition at the University of Copenhagen. Previously, he sat on the panels of the International Agency for Research on Cancer to examine the link between vegetables and cancer.
Dragsted said glucoraphanin is slightly toxic compound used by plants to control insects. In humans, glucoraphanin can stimulate our body’s defenses, natural chemical which can make the body stronger in the removal of hazardous compounds.
Other experts said that eating foods full of additional nutrients is likely to have only minimal impact compared to other life choices such as not smoking and exercising.
“The use of this new broccoli is not going to offset the bad habits,” said Glenys Jones, a nutritionist at the Medical Research Council of Great Britain. He doubted whether the addition of nutrients from the foods most popular broccoli working to improve the health of people in general.
“If you add this to a hamburger, people might think it’s so healthy food and eat more hamburgers, while this is not something you should eat more of,” said Jones. He also thought the price of super broccoli in the UK – it costs about a third more than regular broccoli – could discourage customers stingy.
But that was not enough to deter Suzanne Johnson, a mother of 43 years of age, two young children in London.
“I am very concerned about the food they eat and I would pay more to buy something that has an additional benefit,” said Johnson.
However, for their children, the taste is ultimately more important than any nutritional value. “Broccoli is one of the vegetables they really like, so I’m happy that (scientists) have been working,” he said. “This would not work if it were mushrooms or asparagus.”
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