A study published inÂ Molecular Nutrition & Food ResearchÂ shows that including a new broccoli variety in the diet may improve heart health by reducing levels of “bad” cholesterol.
The broccoli variety was bred to contain two to three times more of a naturally occurring compound glucoraphanin.The researchers recruited 130 volunteers to two independent double-blind, randomly allocated parallel dietary intervention studies. They were assigned to consume either 400 g standard broccoli or 400 g high glucoraphanin (HG) broccoli per week for 12 weeks. Plasma lipids were quantified before and after the intervention. In the first study (37 volunteers), the HG broccoli diet reduced plasma LDL-C by 7.1%, whereas standard broccoli reduced LDL-C by 1.8%. In the second study (93 volunteers), the HG broccoli diet resulted in a reduction of 5.1%, whereas standard broccoli reduced LDL-C by 2.5%. When data from the two studies were combined, the reduction in LDL-C by the HG broccoli was significantly greater than standard broccoli.
The researchers noted that although the reduction seen in these trials is small, at a population level, a 1% reduction in LDL-cholesterol has been associated with a 1–2% reduction in risk of coronary artery disease. Glucoraphanin is thought to work by helping retune cellular metabolism.