If you are not keen on broccoli or cabbage be comforted with the news that you do not have to eat too much of it to reduce your chances of developing cancer. In fact, if you eat broccoli or cabbage just three times each month you could well be reducing your chances of developing bladder cancer by up to 40%, say scientists from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, USA. They presented their findings at the American Association of Cancer Research Conference, Philadelphia.
In this study, the researchers looked at 1,000 people. 275 of them had bladder cancer while the rest (825) were cancer free. They were all asked about their eating habits, in particular, their consumption of such vegetables as cabbage or broccoli (cruciferous vegetables). Cruciferous vegetables are known to have large amounts of isothiocyanates (ITCs), which experts say can help reduce your risk of developing cancer.
They found that a smoker who consumes less than three servings of cruciferous vegetables per month has the highest risk of developing bladder cancer. They also found that those who ate raw cruciferous vegetables at least three times a month had a 40% lower risk than those who consumed the raw veggies less often. The difference was also 40% when smokers who ate raw cruciferous vegetables at least three times a month were compared to smokers who ate them less often.
However, the scientists stressed that they only observed this significant difference in bladder cancer risk with raw vegetables, not cooked vegetables. This is probably because cooking lowers the ITC content by 60-90%, they explained.
In another study, carried out on rats by researchers also from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the animals were induced to develop bladder cancer. They were then given freeze-dried broccoli sprout extract. The chances of developing bladder cancer were much lower if the rats ate larger quantities of the freeze dried extract.
— American Association of Cancer Research Conference, Philadelphia