It’s so easy these days to become disillusioned by claims from alternative medicine, vitamins, and supplements, that all say they will make you healthy and extend your life, prevent aging, etc. In fact, the claims are so numerous and sometimes ridiculous, that it’s hard to give up on remedies that aren’t prescribed by your doctor.
Thankfully, there are some times that researchers get the funding to look into these sorts of issues, of whether certain herbal remedies lower the risk of cancer or others protect against DNA damage. The hot issue these days is antioxidants, and everything from acai berry to broccoli is touted for it’s free radical annihilating capacity. Why is this important? Because free radicals are produced inside your body by everything, from what you eat and breathe to your body’s own immune cells responding to an infection. These free radicals can often damage your DNA and lead to long term problems like cancer. And while that sounds much worse than it is, I have always believed that getting antioxidants from fruits and veggies did reduce the amount of free radical radicals and DNA damage, and today I finally read an article that seems to support my stubborn beliefs.
The study, newly published in the Oxford journal Mutagenesis, shows that individuals consuming portions of steamed broccoli every day had 41% less DNA damage than those individuals who did not eat broccoli. Granted, this study was done in smokers, which have a much higher exposure to DNA damaging agents than non-smokers, but that doesn’t mean eating broccoli isn’t protective against free radicals in general. To all those broccoli haters: suck it up and eat!