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Broccoli may halt progression of arthritis

August 29, 2013

Diet plays an integral role in healthy aging, and new research out of the U.K. suggest that even a small change could have a significant impact on the lives of seniors living with arthritis. Performed by scientists at the University of East Anglia, the study discovered that a compound commonly found in broccoli, known as sulforaphane, might be able to slow the progression of osteoarthritis, which affects an estimated 27 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

To measure the impact of sulforaphane, researchers turned to mice. They fed the subjects a diet high in the compound and noticed that the animals experienced a slower rate of cartilage erosion compared to mice that ate a different diet. Encouraged by the results, researchers hope to replicate the benefits by testing on human subjects. Still, the results could provide millions of seniors living with arthritis with the ability to alleviate pain and stay active.

"The results from this study are very promising," said Ian Clark, a professor of musculoskeletal biology at UEA who led the study. "We have shown that this works in the three laboratory models we have tried, in cartilage cells, tissue and mice. We now want to show this works in humans. It would be very powerful if we could."

This is certainly not the first time that eating broccoli has shown to be staple of a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Perhaps most importantly, broccoli has shown to have considerable anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, it is tied a host of health benefits including a lower risk of cancer. Broccoli is also high in vitamin C and calcium - both crucial nutrients for the senior population.