Here's One More Reason to Eat Up Your Broccoli! Research Finds Broccoli-Sprout Tea Helps to Clear Toxic Chemicals in Air Pollution from Body

By Templeton, David | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), July 8, 2014 | Go to article overview

Here's One More Reason to Eat Up Your Broccoli! Research Finds Broccoli-Sprout Tea Helps to Clear Toxic Chemicals in Air Pollution from Body


Templeton, David, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


If you live in a region with lots of air pollution - places like southwestern Pennsylvania - you might not always breathe easy. So it might help to sit back, relax and enjoy a helping or two of broccoli.

Better yet, have a stiff cup of broccoli-sprout tea.

It might not be the advice you expect to protect yourself from pollution.

But a study that Thomas Kensler and his team began at Johns Hopkins University and completed at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that a molecule generated during broccoli consumption, and with higher concentrations found in broccoli- sprout tea, helps purge the body of air-pollution toxins, including carcinogenic benzene. The molecule works rapidly and with staying power.

And neither a broccoli-laden diet nor a gallon of tea is necessary.

A daily cup of the sprout tea or two small helpings totaling 150 grams of broccoli can help rid toxic pollutants from the body, the study found. The vegetable from the cabbage family, often described as a superfood, provides fiber, vitamins K and C and other nutrients, such as the one that eliminates toxins from the body. That's what makes it a widely recommended addition to any diet.

Benzene is a known human carcinogen and lung irritant, according to the study published online last month in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. "Thus, intervention with broccoli sprouts enhances [detoxification] of some airborne pollutants," with expected reductions in health risks from pollution that raises the risk of lung cancer and cardiopulmonary diseases.

The study focuses on the molecule glucoraphanin in broccoli that, when chewed or crushed, produces sulforaphane, which is known to help prevent cancer. Glucoraphanin levels are significantly higher in broccoli stems and seeds than in the mature vegetable itself.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently classified air pollution and particulate matter from air pollution as carcinogenic to humans, with outdoor air-pollution levels in China among the world's highest. The research team led by Mr. Kensler, who holds a Ph.D. in toxicology and serves as assistant professor at Pitt's medical school, recruited 291 people from a rural area of Qidong in the Yangtze River delta region, 50 miles north of Shanghai, to participate in the study. That region "is the fastest growing economic development area of China," the study says. Pollution levels there are steadily in the unhealthy range with fairly common surges into the very unhealthy and even hazardous range - a pollution level that only rarely occurs nowadays in more polluted areas of the United States.

"Air pollution from expanding industrialization in this region masks the horizon on many days, especially during the winter months. …

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