Washington: Researchers have revealed that spraying a plant hormone on broccoli boosts its cancer-fighting potential.
John Juvik and colleagues explained that diet is one of the most important factors influencing a person's chances of developing cancer.
One of the most helpful food families includes cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and cabbage.
In fact, eating broccoli regularly has been linked to lower rates of prostate, colon, breast, lung and skin cancers.
In that super food, glucosinolates (GSs) and the substances that are left when GSs are broken down can boost the levels of a broccoli enzyme that helps rid the body of carcinogens.
The team, which wanted to determine which GSs and their products actually boost the enzyme levels when broccoli is treated, found that one way to increase GSs is to spray a plant hormone called methyl jasmonate on broccoli. This natural hormone protects the plants against pests.
They tested five commercial types of broccoli by spraying them in the field with the hormone and found that, of the GS break-down products, sulforaphane is the major contributor toward enhanced cancer-fighting enzyme levels, although other substances also likely contribute, the researchers said.
The study is published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.