03-06-2009 11:34

Special Report:   Tech Max

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Here's another reason to eat your broccoli: researchers from University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) report that a naturally occurring compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may help protect against respiratory inflammation that causes conditions like asthma, allergic rhinitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Study: Broccoli may help prevent respiratory conditions like asthma(File photo)
Study: Broccoli may help prevent respiratory conditions like
asthma(File photo)

Published in the March edition of the journal Clinical Immunology, the research shows that sulforaphane, a chemical in broccoli, triggers an increase of antioxidant enzymes in the human air way, which offer protection against the onslaught of free radicals that people breathe in every day in polluted air, pollen, diesel exhaust and tobacco smoke.

A supercharged form of oxygen, free radicals can cause oxidative tissue damage, which leads to inflammation and respiratory conditions like asthma.

"This is one of the first studies showing that broccoli sprouts-- a readily available food source -- offered potent biologic effects in stimulating an antioxidant response in humans," said Marc Riedl, the study's principal investigator and an assistant professor of clinical immunology and allergy at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

"We found a two- to three-fold increase in antioxidant enzymes in the nasal airway cells of study participants who had eaten a preparation of broccoli sprouts," Riedl said. "This strategy may offer protection against inflammatory processes and could lead to potential treatments for a variety of respiratory conditions."

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