A new study has found that eating broccoli helps skin cells to ward off damage from sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which are the primary cause of most skin cancers. The researchers focused their attention on the anti-cancer properties of a compound derived from broccoli sprouts called sulforaphane. They found that the compound, sulforaphane extracted from newly sprouted broccoli seeds boost the production of protective enzyme that defend against UV related damage. The researchers are optimistic that findings will eventually lead to a new type of sun protection that stimulates the body’s own defense system.
Exposure to suns ultraviolet rays is the primary cause of most skin cancers. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation and many chemical compounds cause oxidative damage to our DNA, which can lead to skin cancer. Scientists have discovered that an extract derived from broccoli sprouts guard the skin against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Among other things, the researchers found that the compound, sulforaphane can help cells defend against oxidants, the highly reactive and toxic molecules that damage DNA and kills cells, potentially leading to cancer.
In previous tests on genetically altered mice, sulforaphane reduced the inflammation caused by UV rays. In the new study, Dr. Paul Talalay a professor of pharmacology and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, put the compound to the test on six human volunteers. Different sections of their backs were exposed to different intensity of UV radiation: broccoli sprout extract was applied to some but not to others. The team then checked skin redness-a measure of cell impairment-at various intervals after the exposure.