London: A “super broccoli” believed to help ward off heart disease and cancer has gone on sale in the UK.
Developed by British scientists using conventional breeding techniques rather than genetic engineering, the vegetable looks the same as normal broccoli but contains boosted levels of a health-giving nutrient.
Research suggests the plant chemical, glucoraphanin, may protect the body against heart disease and some types of cancer.
The new broccoli, called Beneforte, contains two to three times more glucoraphanin than standard broccoli.
The nutrient is converted in the gut into the bioactive compound sulphoraphane, which circulates in the bloodstream.
Evidence indicates that sulphoraphane has beneficial effects such as reducing chronic inflammation, stopping uncontrolled cell division associated with early-stage cancer, and boosting the body’s antioxidants.
Compared with normal broccoli, eating Beneforte broccoli raises sulphoraphane levels two to four times.
“Our research has given new insights into the role of broccoli and other similar vegetables in promoting health, and has shown how this understanding can lead to the development of potentially more nutritious varieties of our familiar vegetables,” a newspaper quoted Professor Richard Mithen, from the IFR, as saying.
“Now there will also be something brand new for consumers to eat as a result of the discoveries we have made,” he added.