Can Broccoli Boost Bone Health And Prevent Arthritis?

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Sulforaphane in broccoli prevents cartilage degeneration (characteristic of osteoarthritis) by inhibiting metalloproteinases and inflammation. Broccoli is also rich in vit K that prevents rheumatoid arthritis and boosts synthesis of bone strengthening protein, osteocalcin. Rich in calcium with no oxalate, it facilitates calcium absorption by the body. So add this superfood to your grocery list.

Whether you love broccoli or can’t bear the sight of it is a different matter. But there’s no escaping the fact that this green cruciferous vegetable is a superfood with many benefits – from fighting colon and pancreatic cancers to curing constipation, improving digestion and acting as an antioxidant. And there’s more: broccoli can also boost bone health significantly and prevent the onset of arthritis.

Arthritis is a painful and often debilitating condition involving the inflammation and stiffness of the joint tissues. Apart from age, degeneration of bone tissue due to injury or infection is a precipitating factor whether it’s osteoarthritis (arthritis of the bones) or rheumatoid arthritis (a long-term autoimmune disorder that affects the joints).

So where does broccoli figure in all this?

Sulforaphane – The Power Compound In Broccoli

Sulforaphane (SFN), a component of broccoli, regulates the signaling pathways of many chronic diseases, osteoarthritis being one of them. In one study that examined the role of sulforaphane in blocking cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis, it was found to inhibit the expression of metalloproteinases implicated in osteoarthritis and block inflammation to prevent cartilage destruction.1

Role Of Vitamin K

Broccoli is a rich source of vitamin K. The two main forms of vitamin K are phylloquinones (K1), obtained from plant sources, and menaquinones (K2 or MKs), obtained from bacteria. Clinical studies reveal that MK-4 blocks the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Meanwhile, MK-7 helps to curb inflammation and also increases the level of osteocalcin, a protein found in bones.2

Better Absorption Of Calcium

Calcium plays a very important role in nourishing the bones and joints and preventing arthritis, bone loss, inflammation, and premature degeneration of cartilages. Calcium content is very high in broccoli – about 100 gm of the vegetable contains 47 mg of the mineral.

One thing sets broccoli apart from some other calcium-rich foods. Oxalates are natural calcium-binding compounds that inhibit the absorption of calcium in the blood. A number of vegetables like spinach contain calcium as well as oxalates. Broccoli, on the other hand, is high in calcium but without the oxalate. The calcium from broccoli is thus absorbed readily into the blood stream, making it a better source of calcium.3

Power Up With The Green Superfood

With enough clinical evidence to suggest the role of broccoli in preventing arthritis (not to mention the other numerous health benefits), a broccoli-rich diet can only be a good idea. Add broccoli to salads and soups, or steam, grill, or stir fry if you want a more exciting version. “Go green” will have a whole new meaning if you incorporate this superfood into your diet. And your bones and joints will thank you for it!

References   [ + ]

1.Davidson, Rose K., Orla Jupp, Rachel Ferrars, Colin D. Kay, Kirsty L. Culley, Rosemary Norton, Clare Driscoll et al. “Sulforaphane Represses Matrix‐Degrading Proteases and Protects Cartilage From Destruction In Vitro and In Vivo.” Arthritis & Rheumatism 65, no. 12 (2013): 3130-3140.
2.Abdel-Rahman, Mahran S., Eman AM Alkady, and Sameh Ahmed. “Menaquinone-7 as a novel pharmacological therapy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: A clinical study.” European journal of pharmacology 761 (2015): 273-278.
3.Heaney, R. P., and Connie M. Weaver. “Oxalate: effect on calcium absorbability.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 50, no. 4 (1989): 830-832.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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