Broccoli sprouts, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables may help people with nasal allergies or asthma, according to new research from the University of California's School of Medicine.
In this study, 65 healthy men and women ate various doses of an oral preparation made from broccoli sprouts or a "placebo" made from alfalfa sprouts over three days.
The researchers took samples of the volunteers' nasal fluids to measure the activity of enzymes that protect against inflammation and oxidative stress.
The broccoli sprout preparation sparked an increase in the protective enzymes whereas the alfalfa-derived placebo did not, leading researchers to believe that people with allergies may be able to boost their defense nasal congestion with this cruciferous vegetable .
It's thought that a compound called sulforaphane, which is found naturally in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage, is responsible for this beneficial effect on nasal allergies.
Sulforaphane triggers an increase in antioxidant enzymes that help counter cell damage and inflammation brought on by oxidative stress from air pollution, pollen, dust and other environmental allergens.
Further studies will investigate whether broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous foods can actually alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms, says this study's lead author.
It may be too soon to start eating broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to stave off your seasonal allergies, however adding cruciferous vegetables to your diet is a great way to boost your soluble fibre intake, prevent heart disease and certain cancers.
For recipes with broccoli sprouts and other healthy foods, check out our March Cookbook Review - The Raw Diet Revolution.
This study was published in the March 2009 issue of Clinical Immunology.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.