A recent study suggesting that broccoli could hold the key to preventing arthritis made widespread headlines – but experts caution it is too early to come to conclusions.
Sulforaphane is found in broccoli, and previous studies have suggested it might help stop the breakdown of cartilage.
Researchers found that sulforaphane helped reduce the production of the enzymes that contribute to human cartilage breakdown. It was also found to protect cow cartilage in the lab. Mice fed a sulforaphane-rich diet also had fewer signs of arthritis.
Researchers now plan to study people with osteoarthritis who are awaiting joint surgery, testing the effects of eating "super broccoli", specially bred to release large amounts of sulforaphane.
Aside from its alleged arthritis-busting properties, some dietitians claim that regularly eating broccoli can bring a range of benefits, including reducing cancer risk, lowering blood pressure and preventing heart disease. However, the evidence is flimsy at best.
But broccoli does contain many nutrients needed for numerous functions in the body, such as folate, soluble and insoluble fibre, vitamins C and A, and calcium.