The young bride is a great cook, and for many years we have eaten lots of fish, fresh vegetables and occasional red meat: she also loves broccoli which, as a child, I used to detest. Now I have two good reasons to enjoy my cruciferous veggies: one is because she makes it taste so delicious and the other is because of the increasing evidence to show that it helps reduce the risk of some cancers.
In 2008 a couple of American researchers reported evidence that eating raw cruciferous veggies – broccoli and cauliflower fall into this group – lowered the risk of developing lung cancer in smokers and former smokers: and the range of risk reduction was fairly significant ranging from a 20 to 55%. Despite that impressive figures however, the researchers stated that the evidence was still not strong enough to make a Public Health recommendation.
Now scientists have uncovered one of the chemicals in broccoli that plays a part in this preventative puzzle. Sulphoraphane, a phytochemical found in high quantities in cruciferous vegetables has for the first time been shown to selectively target and kill cancer cells whilst leaving normal cancer cells healthy and unaffected. However, "Just because a phytochemical or nutrient is found in food doesn't always mean its safe, and a lot can also depend on the form or levels consumed," said Emily Ho, a principal investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute. "But this does appear to be a phytochemical that can selectively kill cancer cells, and that's always what you look for in cancer therapies." In fact Sulphoraphane is already in clinical trails in the management of both breast and prostate cancer.
So get out the recipe book and start adding broccoli creations to your diet, and just to give you a kick-start, here’s one from Marg Johnson!
Broccoli, Anchovies and chilli Tagliatelle
1 head broccoli – cut into small florets
44g dried tagliatelle
¼ cup olive oil (best quality)
4 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
1 to 2 red chillies – chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Simmer the florets until they are just tender. Drain them and keep to one side. Cook the pasta in salted water until just tender. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil and add the anchovies. Allow them to melt into the il and then add the chilli, pepper and the broccoli. When all is hot, add the drained pasta and mix all together. Then remove from the heat and fold through most of the parsley and cheese. Serve topped with the rest of both.