Broccoli has long been heralded as a “super food” but now it has been shown to also help protect us against developing osteoarthritis. But is it one of the best foods for osteoarthritis?
Broccoli’s nutritional profile is impressive. A 100 gram serving of broccoli will provide you with more than 150% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C as well as being rich in vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and phyto-nutrients (compounds which lower the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers).
The research about broccoli being one of the key foods for osteoarthritis was carried out at the University of East Anglia in the UK. They found a compound in broccoli called sulforaphane blocked cartilage-destroying enzymes by intercepting a molecule that causes inflammation. The good news is this also helps protect against cardiovascular disease as well.
What Does This Mean for Osteoarthritis Sufferers?
This is even better news for our relatives who have not yet developed the disease as it will help prevent the disease from occurring. As for us it will help with the pain from the inflammation of the soft tissue around the joint but it will not repair damage that is already done.
Maybe it’s a good new line to make your kids eat their greens? “Eat your broccoli or you will end up being a cripple like Granny!”
Are There Other Foods for Osteoarthritis If You Don’t Like Broccoli?
Don’t worry sulforaphane is found in the following vegetables. Please don’t overcook them as you destroy the compounds. They is best lightly steamed or eaten raw to get maximum benefit.
Broccoli Sprouts are baby broccoli and contain more sulforaphane than any other vegetables, including full grown broccoli. Research has found that they contain anywhere from 10 to 100 times more of the compound than broccoli. I think they are also tastier!
Cauliflower which can be boring but grated into mashed potatoes is yummy. Also who doesn’t like good old cauli cheese?
Brussels Sprouts are often hated by kids but they can grow into them. Personally I like them par boiled then finish them by sautéing them in butter with a few almonds.
Savoy Cabbage has the added benefit of not giving off that horrible cooked cabbage smell!
Red Cabbage contains lower levels of sulphoraphane than Savoy cabbage, but as it is often eaten raw in salads and coleslaw so we often get more out of it.
Kohlrabi tastes great raw and is a great addition to raw vegetables with dips.
Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. It can be added to raw to green smoothies, steam it or I love it lightly sauted in butter (OK maybe not the healthiest option but yum!).
Collard Greens are are also a good source of sulforaphane. These can be added to green smoothies or use raw in a sandwich or wrap.
Horseradish is a brassicaceae like the vegetables listed above and so contains sulforaphane. Add a bit of horseradish to your beef casserole or other recipes for a bit of a boost.
Click on this link to read more about which best foods for osteoarthritis and which you should avoid.