Health Benefits of Baby Broccoli for Preventing Stomach Cancer

According to new research, eating baby broccoli may help in the prevention of stomach cancer. The health benefits of broccoli come from the ability of an ingredient in baby broccoli to reduce colonization of H. Pylori bacteria in the gut. H. Pylori is common, affecting fifty percent of the world’s population.

The newest and additional health benefit of broccoli for thwarting stomach cancer was found by researchers in Japan. Eating two and a half ounces of baby broccoli daily for two months provided health benefits because the compound sulforaphane, found in high amounts in baby broccoli, reduced the amount of H. Pylori in the gut. The researchers measured HpSA, a component of H. Pylori, to find that fifty people fed two and a half ounces of baby broccoli for two months had a forty percent reduction in the harmful gut bacteria. The researchers say the health benefits of baby broccoli… “might potentially have an effect on the cause of a lot of gastric problems…”

The newly discovered health benefit of baby broccoli from sulforaphane was discovered in 2002 by Jed W. Fahey, M.S., Sc.D., nutritional biochemist in the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Cancer Chemoprotection Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. According to Fahey, "Broccoli sprouts have a much higher concentration of sulforaphane than mature heads”.

The study suggests that eating baby broccoli on a regular basis confers the greatest health benefits. When the study group stopped eating broccoli, their levels of H. Pylori returned to normal, also showing the scientists that baby broccoli did not completely eradicate H. Pylori bacteria that can lead to stomach cancer.

Stomach cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Reducing the amount of H. Pylori in the gut can decrease inflammation and reduce the chances of developing stomach cancer.

No one knows exactly how H. Pylori infections develop in the stomach, but the infection may be transmitted by food and water contaminated with waste products, making lower socioeconomic groups more at risk. Risk factors for H. Pylori include age, and H. Pylori infections are more common among African Americans.

Adding baby broccoli to your diet can provide the added health benefit of preventing stomach cancer, in addition to providing essential dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Hopkins Medicine