Extracts from broccoli sprouts have been found to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation and reduce the risk of skin cancer, according to new findings from a study with mice.
Broccoli, and particularly broccoli sprouts, already has a long list of potential health benefits. Previous research has reported that that a naturally occurring compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables helps protect against cancer and respiratory inflammation that causes conditions like asthma.
Broccoli sprouts are the young shoots of the plant, and like other sprouts, contain a concentrated source of nutrients. Broccoli sprouts are the richest natural source of the beneficial substance, sulforaphane, responsible for broccoli's health benefits.
For this new study, scientists exposed hairless mice to 17 weeks of chronic UV radiation and then divided them into two groups: One groups received an extract from broccoli sprouts providing a daily dose of 10 moles of glucoraphanin / sulforaphane, while the other group received no extract.
After a further 13 weeks, the researchers noted an inhibition in the development of skin tumors, with the incidence of skin cancer reduced by 25 per cent.
In addition, the tumors the broccoli-fed mice did develop were 70 per cent smaller.
Benefits of broccoli
The tissue of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, contain high levels of the active plant chemicals glucosinolates. These are metabolised by the body into isothiocyanates, which are known to be powerful anti-carcinogens. The main isothiocyanate from broccoli is sulforaphane.
Broccoli sprouts have previously been shown to reduce blood pressure in rats with hypertension due to the presence of this beneficial compound. Sprouts are the richest source of this compound, containing up to 50 times more than mature broccoli.
Research Paper Details:
A.T. Dinkova-Kostova, J.W. Fahey, A.L. Benedict, et al. Dietary glucoraphanin-rich broccoli sprout extracts protect against UV radiation-induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 hairless mice. Photochemistry & Photobiological Sciences.