It's been called the king of vegetables, and scientists are getting closer to understanding just why broccoli has so many health-giving qualities. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can boost the immune system, and fight the free radicals that damage our cells.
Broccoli's secret ingredient is a chemical called sulforaphane, which can switch on a set of antioxidant genes and enzymes in immune cells that help fight disease and the effects of ageing.
Our bodies lose their natural disease-fighting abilities as we age, and so vegetables such as broccoli can help replace that which the years have taken away.
Researchers from the School of Medicine at UCLA have discovered that sulforaphane in broccoli reverses the decline in cellular immune function in a test on mice. The chemical was especially effective in kick-starting the dendritic cells, which also improve immune functioning.
(Source: University of California - Los Angeles, March 10, 2008).