Over 10 million people suffer from arthritis in the UK alone (around 50million in the US), the disease is most common in the elderly and can often inhibit one’s freedom and independence which can be especially problematic if you enjoy travelling. So we were interested to read that the University of East Anglia has started human trials to test the effectiveness of eating more broccoli on the joints, after successful laboratory studies on cells and mice.
This human experiment will involve patients with severe arthritis eating specially bred ‘super-broccoli’, a cross breed between standard broccoli and a wild relative from Sicily. The patients will consume 100 grams (that’s about a handful) everyday for two weeks, then the East Anglian researches will examine tissues that are removed from their joints as part of restorative operations they were already planning to have.
Dr Rose Davidson explained that two weeks would certainly not be enough time to have a dramatic impact on the patients’ conditions but hopes to establish whether eating a healthy amount of broccoli everyday might help to reduce its impact or even possibly prevent it completely.
The active ingredient in the broccoli is sulforaphane which, the scientists believe, blocks a destructive enzyme believed to be the prime culprit for a vast amount of cartilage damage. Sulfpraphane can be found in regular broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage, but its concentrations are highest in the strand of broccoli that had been bred for this experiment.
Dr Davidson agrees that diet, exercise and keeping to an optimal weight are all important factors in avoiding arthritis but she hopes that the results from this experiment might help us combat the disease more effectively.
It’s not always easy to get exercise and have a healthy diet, especially when you’re on your holiday but since this super broccoli has been bred from a strain from Sicily perhaps the destination you choose to visit could be influenced by the plants that grow there! And if you are living with arthritis, don’t forget your specialist arthritis trave insurance if you are planning a trip away.