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How Broccoli Fights Air Pollution
by KindMeal.my, 26 June 2014
How Broccoli Fights Air Pollution

The health benefits of broccoli–lower cholesterol, reduced inflammation, high fiber and stronger bones–are old news, but a new Johns Hopkins study has revealed an additional advantage to the cruciferous powerhouse: detoxification.

China’s reputation for high amounts of air pollution led researchers to seek out a set of 290 Chinese men and women for their study on the detox properties of broccoli. Participants were divided into two groups for the duration of the 12-week long study. One group was given a mixture of water and fruit juice, while the other was given the same beverage base with the added ingredient of powder made from freeze-dried broccoli sprouts.

Analysis of blood and urine samples revealed that, within one day of beginning the broccoli-infused beverage, participants were excreting 61 percent more benzene–a chemical found in rubbers, dyes, lubricants, pesticides, cigarette smoke, gasoline and plastics that has been cited as a carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency–than they had been before imbibing the special drink.

Researchers also measured how much acrolein, a toxic respiratory irritant created by the burning of organic matter, oil and gasoline, was secreted by the participants. For those consuming the beverage with the broccoli boost, acrolein secretion was increased by 23 percent. These benefits never tapered off, remaining strong throughout the duration of the investigation.

These findings led study authors to conclude that there is potential in food-based strategies to reduce the adverse health effects of air pollution. “This study points to a frugal, simple and safe means that can be taken by individuals to possibly reduce some of the long-term health risks associated with air pollution,” says co-author and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Thomas Kensler, in an article on the school’s news site.

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