A new study reveals that eating dark green vegetables can change the genes of cancer patients and prevent tumour growth, reports the International Business Times, Australia.
Scientists found that green vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane, which can fight cancer, including those already present in tumours, the paper said.
The new study, published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics, found that sulforaphane in fresh vegetables also has the potential to boost the effects of existing anti-cancer drugs.
Highest concentrations of sulforaphane can be found in young sprouts of broccoli, but it is also present in Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower and cabbage, the report said.
Besides fresh green vegetables, sulforaphane is also available in the dietary supplement broccoli sprout extract (BSE), it added.
The findings come from the analysis of the cruciferous vegetable-eating habits of 28 adults, aged 50 and over, who were already undergoing routine colonoscopies.
Researchers from the Texas A&M Health Science Centre found that the adults who took more dark green vegetables had higher levels of expression of a tumour suppressor gene, called p16, compared with those who ate few or no cruciferous vegetables.
Researchers were surprised that the effects of suloraphane to increase the levels of p16 persisted even though the participants didn’t eat vegetables every day. Earlier research showed that suloraphane lasts in the body for less than 24 hours after consumption, the report said.