Researchers at the University of Reading have revealed that a new version of broccoli has the power to reduce blood LDL cholesterol levels by around just 6%. Published in the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research journal, the study shows how including the new type of broccoli in the regular diet could significantly help individuals with high blood cholesterol levels lower the same, as well as improve heart health in the process.
Broccoli happens to be one of the most sought after vegetables by consumers in the U.S. The vegetable is regularly featured in several fresh trend surveys as well as diet/health related articles. When compared to 30 years ago, broccoli consumption has increased fourfold.
That saying, broccoli remains as one of those few foods some people tend to leave untouched on their plate. While its appearance screams ‘health’, its taste falls well below the mark of other alternatives. When compared to other vegetables, broccoli does not last long as well and becomes yellowish and rubbery, and develops a rather bitter taste.
While fresh broccoli is the best considered alternative, getting access to it can become an issue considering the fact that the vegetable itself prefers only a cool climate to grow. People living in hot regions would therefore, need to wait for more than 5 days or so before the broccoli makes its way from the farms to the local markets.
New varieties of broccoli
Researchers are utilizing several cross breeding techniques to create a broccoli type that can be grown in hot regions as well. These cost effective broccoli types can also be grown in large quantities, thus being a lucrative option for growers and a healthier alternative for consumers. Growing these broccoli types near home will also lead to lower transportation costs and fewer greenhouse gas emissions related to the same.
The new broccoli variety created by the researchers also contains higher levels of a compound called glucoraphanin, which is usually found in small quantities in the vegetables. The study involved the intake of this new broccoli type by two independent groups of humans. The results revealed that when compared to normal broccoli, the variety with the higher glucoraphanin content was able to successfully reduce plasma LDL cholesterol in individuals who ate it, with the glucoraphanin helping retune the body’s cellular metabolism.
Accordingly, the volunteers in the program were given 400g of the new broccoli variety every week as part of their regular diet. Following a period of 12 weeks, their LDL cholesterol levels were checked. On an average, a 6% drop in LDL cholesterol levels was noticed among all participants. Although this may be considered as a miniscule reduction, it is to be noted that even a 1% reduction in LDL cholesterol levels can lead to at least a 2% reduction in the risks associated with heart diseases.
Exciting new possibilities
It is a known fact that elevated LDL cholesterol levels can lead to increased risks of stroke, heart attack and heart disease. Several other substances that are known to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in individuals include beta – glucans that are usually found in plant stanols and oats. Together with the high glucoraphanin content broccoli, these foods can thus, effectively reduce cholesterol production and absorption in the body.
The new broccoli type will not only look nice and thrive at hot temperatures, but it would have a crunchy texture and a nice, sweet taste as well. Hence, even those who hated broccoli till now will have no objection to eating the high glucoraphanin content variant. The new broccoli variant is named Beneforte and is already available in several supermarkets in Britain.
Researchers have developed a new type of broccoli that can effectively reduce cholesterol levels in individuals. In addition to growing in hot regions, the new variant will have a crunchy, sweet taste appealing to all ages.