We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

93: Broccoli Kicks Cancer

By Elizabeth Svoboda
Jan 3, 2005 6:00 AMNov 12, 2019 5:49 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Vegetables pack a roundhouse punch against cancer, according to a September report by nutritional scientist Keith Singletary of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Studies had shown that substances in some vegetables help prevent mutations that turn normal cells cancerous. Now Singletary’s research reveals a phytonutrient in vegetables can also kill breast cells that are already cancerous.

Singletary added sulforaphane, a chemical in broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables, to cultures of human breast cancer cells. Within hours, the cells stopped dividing. Sulforaphane seems to work by interrupting the tiny microtubules that normally pull pairs of chromosomes apart when cells divide. Without the tubules, malignant cells can’t multiply. And sulforaphane seems to leave normal cells untouched.

Singletary warns that what happens in the test tube may not be what happens in the body. “We need to better understand the effects of this compound at levels that are physiologically relevant,” he adds. “But what we can say is that this is more evidence that including plant foods in our diets is generally a good idea.”

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.