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Broccoli sprouts' wonder ingredient

EATING just 70 grams of baby broccoli daily for two months may protect against a common stomach bug linked to gastritis, ulcers and even stomach cancer, a study in Japan has found.

Fresh broccoli sprouts contain sulforaphane, a natural biochemical that appears to trigger the production of enzymes in the gut that protect against oxygen radicals, DNA-damaging chemicals, and inflammation.

In an article in the Cancer Prevention Research journal, scientists found that eating 70 grams of baby broccoli daily may help stave off some serious health problems.

"We identified a food that, if eaten regularly, might potentially have an effect on the cause of a lot of gastric problems and perhaps even ultimately help prevent stomach cancer," wrote Jed Fahey, nutritional biochemist in the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Cancer Chemoprotection Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

It has long been known that sulforaphane is a potent antibiotic against Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that causes gastritis, ulcers and stomach cancer. But this is the first trial showing the effects of the compound on people.

"Broccoli sprouts have a much higher concentration of sulforaphane than mature heads," Fahey said.

In their study, researchers gave 25 people in Japan who were infected with Helicobacter pylori 70 grams per day of broccoli sprouts for two months.

Another 25 infected people consumed an equivalent amount of alfalfa sprouts which don't contain sulforaphane.


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