A unique compound found in broccoli could herald major benefits for sufferers of osteoarthritis, a new study in the UK has found.

A substance called sulforaphane, present in broccoli, has been linked to the slower development and potential prevention of osteoarthritic damage to joint cartilage. The chemical is released upon consumption of the vegetable.

“Broccoli may prove to be the world’s next biggest super food, with previous studies suggesting that sulforaphane also has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties,” said AUSVEG spokesperson, Lauren Winterbottom.

AUSVEG is the leading voice in horticulture representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

The study was recently conducted by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.

“These findings are a timely reminder to all Australians that the vegetable farm is essentially nature’s own pharmacy.”

“A healthy diet rich in clean, green vegetables such as broccoli is an ideal supplement to a conventional osteoarthritis management plan, and may also improve overall health,” said Ms Winterbottom.

Osteoarthritis is estimated to affect over 1.6 million Australians – nearly seven per cent of the total population. With an aging population, these figures are expected to rise.

The UK researchers have seen positive results in human cartilage cells, tissues and mice, and hope to replicate these in clinical trials shortly.

These findings may also create opportunities for vegetable producers to market the health benefits of their produce.

“Vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli are naturally rich in sulforaphane, and there is certainly potential for growers to breed ‘super varieties’ that are rich in all sorts of beneficial nutrients,” said Ms Winterbottom.

A current Australian research and development project funded by the National Vegetable Levy is simplifying currently available information relating to food regulations. This will allow producers and marketers to easily make health claims under a new Food Standard Code recently released by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

“Australians have long been aware of the health benefits of vegetables, but findings like these highlight that a healthy diet is imperative to the prevention of certain health conditions,” said Ms Winterbottom.

This communication is funded by HAL using the National Vegetable Levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.


MEDIA CONTACT: Hugh Gurney, Senior Communications Officer, AUSVEG.
Mob: 0410 047 432 Phone: (03) 9882 0277; E-mail: hugh.gurney@ausveg.com.au.