A super broccoli that has been developed by scientists in Britain goes on sale in the UK. What makes this broccoli any different from the others you may ask? The vegetable looks the same as any other broccoli but has higher levels of a health-giving nutrient.
Previous research suggests that glucoraphanin, a plant chemical, could protect the body against different types of cancer and also heart disease. Beneforte, the name given to the new broccoli, contains up to three times more glucoraphanin than a normal broccoli.
Beneforte can now be found at Marks & Spencer stores but will be available at other supermarkets later on next year.
Rather than genetic engineering to make Beneforte, it was developed using conventional breeding techniques by the British scientists.
A wild broccoli variety was found in 1983 with naturally higher levels of glucoraphanin, the project and research started shortly after.
Glucoraphanin is converted in the gut into the bioactive compound sulphoraphane, which then flows in the bloodstream.
Research suggests that sulphoraphane has valuable effects such as stopping uncontrolled cell division associated with early stage cancer, improving the body’s antioxidants and lowering chronic inflammation.
Eating Beneforte broccoli raises sulphoraphane levels up to four times as much, compared with normal broccoli.
Broccoli is believed to defend against some cancers, especially prostate and bowel. Research has shown that men whose diet consists of a lot of broccoli have a reduced threat of destructive prostate cancer.
Nowadays, all we usually hear about in the food industry is the rising costs of supplies, the struggle of getting a restaurant insurance quote, jobs being cut back and junk food, it is refreshing to hear about a food that gives us more of a health benefit.
The Institute of Food Research (IFR) and John Innes Centre both based in Norwich, worked together to develop Beneforte.
Professor Richard Mithen, from the IFR, explained “Our research has given new insights into the role of broccoli and other similar vegetables in promoting health, and has shown how this understanding can lead to the development of potentially more nutritious varieties of our familiar vegetables.
David Willetts, Science minister commended the “fantastic achievement” of the scientists.
Willetts said that “’This excellent work has led to the development of a highly commercial food product that will be both grown and sold in the UK, giving a real boost to agriculture, our personal health and the economy.”