live in a region with lots of air pollution, you might not
always breathe easy. So it might help to sit back, relax and
enjoy a helping or two of broccoli.
yet, have a stiff cup of broccoli-sprout tea.
not be the advice you expect to protect yourself from
study that Thomas Kensler and his team began at Johns Hopkins
University and completed at the University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine found that a molecule generated during
broccoli consumption, and with higher concentrations found in
broccoli-sprout tea, helps purge the body of air-pollution
toxins, including carcinogenic benzene. The molecule works
rapidly and with staying power.
neither a broccoli-laden diet nor a gallon of tea is
cup of the sprout tea or two small helpings totaling 150 grams
of broccoli can help rid toxic pollutants from the body, the
study found. The vegetable from the cabbage family, often
described as a superfood, provides fiber, vitamins K and C and
other nutrients, such as the one that eliminates toxins from
the body. That’s what makes it a widely recommended addition
to any diet.
is a known human carcinogen and lung irritant, according to
the study published online recently in the journal Cancer
Prevention Research. "Thus, intervention with broccoli
sprouts enhances (detoxification) of some airborne
pollutants," with expected reductions in health risks
from pollution that raises the risk of lung cancer and
study focuses on the molecule glucoraphanin in broccoli that,
when chewed or crushed, produces sulforaphane, which is known
to help prevent cancer. Glucoraphanin levels are significantly
higher in broccoli stems and seeds than in the mature
International Agency for Research on Cancer recently
classified air pollution and particulate matter from air
pollution as carcinogenic to humans, with outdoor
air-pollution levels in China among the world’s highest. The
research team led by Kensler, who holds a Ph.D. in toxicology
and serves as assistant professor at Pitt’s medical school,
recruited 291 people from a rural area of Qidong in the
Yangtze River delta region, 50 miles north of Shanghai, to
participate in the study. That region "is the fastest
growing economic development area of China," the study
says. Pollution levels there are steadily in the unhealthy
range with fairly common surges into the very unhealthy and
even hazardous range — a pollution level that only rarely
occurs nowadays in more polluted areas of the United States.
pollution from expanding industrialization in this region
masks the horizon on many days, especially during the winter
months. Increases in fossil fuels use in China’s industry,
transport and residential sectors have resulted in a steep
increase in emissions," the study states.
the 12-week human clinical trial, those in the control group
drank a beverage — produced commercially for the study to
guarantee dosage levels — comprising bottled water,
pineapple and lime juice — while the beverage for the
treatment group additionally included a dissolved freeze-dried
powder made from broccoli sprouts that contained glucoraphanin
and sulforaphane. Urine and blood samples collected throughout
the trial were tested to measure and compare air-pollution
toxin levels excreted from the bodies of study participants
from both groups.
research team found that those receiving the broccoli-sprout
beverage experienced an excretion rate of benzene 61 percent
higher than the control group did, beginning the first day of
the trial and continuing throughout the 12-week period. The
rate of excretion of another airborne pollutant, the nose and
throat irritant acrolein, "rapidly and durably"
increased 23 percent for the treatment group, compared with
the control group, during the course of the trial.
analysis by investigators found that sulforaphane may be
protective by activating a signaling molecule, NRF2, which
elevates a cell’s capacity to adapt to and survive a broad
range of environmental toxins. "This strategy may also be
effective for some contaminants in water and food," the
matter poses significant health risks to the public,
especially fine particulates known as PM 2.5, which are so
small that they are inhaled deep into the lungs. But a recent
European study found that particulate matter, irrespective of
particle size, contributes to lung-cancer incidence. Such
particles include heavy metals, carcinogenic hydrocarbons and
volatile organic chemicals that include benzene and aldehydes,
which increase the risk of lung cancer.
the study, broccoli provides a "frugal, simple and safe
means" to reduce long-term health risks associated with
pollution, the study states. Next the team plans to evaluate
optimal dosage levels and consumption frequency of the
broccoli sprout beverage in the same region of China.
Kensler is a superb scientist and he has strong evidence that
broccoli’s constituents can help detoxify carcinogens and
toxins and enhance their elimination from the body," said
Gary Stoner, a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin
whose research focus includes cancer prevention. "This is