Broccoli drink helps body fight air pollutants

(c) Flickr member Will CurranA clinical trial involving nearly 300 men and women in one of China’s most polluted regions has found that daily consumption of a broccoli beverage helped excretion of benzene, a known carcinogen, and acrolein, a lung irritant

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, working with colleagues at several US and Chinese institutions, used a broccoli sprout beverage to provide sulforaphane, a plant compound already demonstrated to have cancer preventive properties in animal studies.

“Air pollution is a complex and pervasive public health problem,” said John Groopman, professor of environmental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and one of the study’s co-authors. “To address this problem comprehensively, in addition to the engineering solutions to reduce regional pollution emissions, we need to translate our basic science into strategies to protect individuals from these exposures.

“This study supports the development of food-based strategies as part of this overall prevention effort.”

Air pollution, an increasing global problem, causes as many as seven million deaths a year worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and has in recent years reached perilous levels in many parts of China.

Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified air pollution and particulate matter (PM) from air pollution as carcinogenic to humans. Diets rich in cruciferous vegetables, of which broccoli is one, have been found to reduce risk of chronic degenerative diseases, including cancer.

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