Why Every Diabetes Patient Needs Broccoli

As a child I, like many others, only referred to broccoli as the “little trees.” Because of this name, eating broccoli became more whimsical and fun – leading me to (almost) never complain about eating them. Today, I only refer to broccoli as the “little trees” in my mind but they’re still one of my favorite snacks. And, research from a new type 2 diabetes study leads me to believe they might just become yours too.

A recent study, published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, discovered an antioxidant as new antidiabetic substance. This antioxidant was found to richly occur in broccoli. The study found that patients who who ate broccoli extract with high levels of sulforaphane, the antioxidant, had significantly lower blood sugar levels.

In recent years, the concept of food as medicine has been widely discussed. Of this, Anders Rosengren, Docent in Metabolic Physiology at the University of Gothenburg and affiliated with the Lund University Diabetes Centre, says “There are strong indications that this can become a valuable supplement to existing medication.”

The patient study was conducted with around one hundred individuals. Regardless of whether they were in the control group or not, each patients was given metformin, a diabetes medication. After 12 weeks, the group that had also received sulforaphane had significantly lower blood sugar levels than the placebo group.

Within the next two years, they hope to develop a functional food using the antioxidant. “Sulforaphane targets a central mechanism in type 2 diabetes and has a mild side-effect profile. As functional food, it can reach the patients faster than a medication, and it is also an interesting concept from a diabetes perspective where diet is central,” says Anders Rosengren in a press release.

However, until that day, consider adding just a little more broccoli to your diet. As one of the healthiest foods, these “little trees” should be a staple in everyone’s diet.

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