President George H. W. Bush famously said that he didn’t like broccoli, and since he was president, he didn’t have to eat it. But if the former president is ever diagnosed with diabetes, he may allow broccoli on his plate after all. New research from the University of Warwick in England found that eating broccoli could reverse the vascular damage to blood vessels caused by diabetes.
The scientists believe the chemical in broccoli responsible for the heart-healthy effect is sulforaphane, which promotes the creating of enzymes that protect blood vessels, and reduces the amounts of molecules called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) that cause cell damage.
Broccoli Reverses Diabetic Damage
Crucifer vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, have been tied to a lower risk of strokes and heart attacks. People with diabetes face up to a 500 percent increase in risk of developing cardiovascular diseases that are linked to damaged blood vessels. They also risk other health problems such as kidney disease.
High blood sugar levels can cause levels of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) to increase three-fold. But sulforaphane activates a protein called nrf2 which protects the vessels and lowers the increase of ROS by 73 percent.
“Our study suggests that compounds such as sulforaphane from broccoli may help counter processes linked to the development of vascular disease in diabetes,” said Warwick Professor Paul Thornalley. He added that in the future it will be important to see if eating a diet rich in broccoli and other crucifer vegetables will benefit diabetics. “We believe it will,” he said.
Eating broccoli could reverse the damage that diabetes inflicts on
heart blood vessels. The key is most likely a compound in the
vegetable called sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane encourages production of enzymes that protect the blood
vessels, and reduces the number of molecules that cause cell damage
-- known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) -- by up to 73 percent.
People with diabetes are up to five times more likely to develop
cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes -- both of
which are linked to damaged blood vessels.