Health Benefits of Broccoli for Seniors
Sulforaphane and Osteoarthritis
A UK study in 2013 by researchers at the University of East Anglia showed that a substance called sulforaphane (sulphoraphane) found in broccoli Brassica oleracea var. italica and other cruciferous vegetables of the Brassica family can prevent or slow down the destruction of cartilage by osteoarthritis in the joints of mice. Sulforaphane is an anti-microbial phytochemical.
Osteoarthritis and Disability in Seniors
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, causes the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. It is the most common form of arthritis and a prime cause of disability in seniors. It affects more than 30 million Americans and the risk for contracting osteoarthritis increases with age. No cure has been found for osteoarthritis and treatment is only geared to treating the symptoms usually with anti-inflammatory drugs and pain killers, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Dangerous Side Effects NSAIDS
However, NSAIDS sold over-the-counter have been found to have many dangerous side effects and can have a bad effect on the heart, kidneys and liver. NSAIDS are sometimes implicated in both vision and hearing loss and they also can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers. In spite of all these dangers, these drugs do not need a doctor’s prescription and thus no one knows for certain how and why they are being used. In fact many patients do not even mention to their doctors that they are taking NSAIDS.
There is a real need to find a cure for osteoarthritis that causes so much crippling in the elderly. When osteoarthritis causes disability to the point that it interferes with quality of life, joint replacement surgery may be recommended, mainly in the form of knee or hip replacement surgery.
Broccoli is labeled a super food because of all of its highly nutritious properties. It is very rich in vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, Vitamin A beta carotene, Vitamin K, calcium and potassium. Broccoli belongs to the Brassica family of vegetables that also includes cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, Chinese broccoli, bok choy and more.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables in the same brassica family can be safely eaten in large amounts by most people, except for those taking blood thinning and anti-coagulant drugs like warfarin. Broccoli contains a large amount of Vitamin K which can act against blood thinning medications. A doctor or hematologist should be consulted as to how much broccoli is safe to eat while using drugs like warfarin (Coumadin).
Sulforaphane may Prevent Cancer
Other studies showed that sulforaphane in broccoli may also help to prevent cancer by causing the destruction of cancer cells (apoptosis), especially breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Cancer is a very serious, often fatal disease and anyone with cancer must be treated by professional doctors trained in cancer treatment. However, there are doctors who practice integrative medicine where they practice both conventional and alternative medical treatments. Thus, integrative physicians may also prescribe herbal and homeopathic treatments along with lifestyle changes like giving up smoking, getting more proper exercise, eating a good healthy diet and not drinking alcoholic beverages, especially in excess.
A study using mice showed that sulforaphane can also fight obesity. Obesity has been cited as a risk factor for osteoarthritis, heart disease, diabetes and many more.
Sulforphane Prevented Depression and Anxiety in Mice.
A study that showed that sulforaphane prevented depression and anxiety in mice may have potential for treating human depression and anxiety, but much more research is needed.
Broccoli may help Prevent Bleeding Caused by Anti-Biotic Treatment
A side effect of some antibiotics can cause bleeding in some people. Antibiotics kill a lot of good bugs along with the bad ones and they can kill off the gut bacteria that make Vitamin K. Vitamin K prevents bleeding. Eating broccoli while taking antibiotics can help prevent this kind of bleeding.
Broccoli is a very healthy super food which has the potential to protect against many kinds of diseases like osteoarthritis and even cancer. It has no side effects unless someone is allergic to broccoli. It is an excellent source of Vitamin K. Broccoli can safely be eaten in large amounts except by people on blood thinning medications.