Our food choices determine, for better or worse, our health, this is confirmed by more and more scientific researches. Broccoli, in particular, is considered a powerful anti cancer food. And dates back a few weeks ago a scientific research (Yu-Ru Lee et al, Science, May 2019) published in the prestigious journal Science and performed by a team of the Harvard Medical School in Boston where the scientists have managed to shed some light on the complex mechanism with which the broccoli and a particular substance derived from it, indole-3-carbinol, suppress the cancer growth.
The scientists isolated a gene, called PTEN, that is in our body and results able to kill the cancer cells. In cancer cells this gene is inhibited by the action of another gene, called WWP1. The aim of the study was to find a way to reactivate the beneficial gene PTEN in order to counteract the tumor. In order to do this the course of action was to inactivate WWP1. This was made possible thanks to a substance, indole-3-carbinol, that, by counteracting the action of WWP1, was able to free the beneficial power of gene PTEN and to fight in this way the cancer. Indole-3-carbinol is a substance that forms in the body from particular antioxidant substances, called glucosinolates, that are found in broccoli and in general in the other vegetables of the Crucifereae family. When we chew indeed we break the plant cells and the substances present in the different cell boxes, that usually aren’t in contact, mix. When this happens, the glucosinolates of a box comes into contact with the enzymes of another box, the enzymes break them and powerful anticancer substances are released such as sulforafane, well known and studied by science, and indole-3-carbinol, which role has been elucidated by this recent research. Of course it is not possible to eat so many broccoli, and raw, to guarantee the same effect observed in lab, as highlighted by dr Pandolfi, head of the research group. But, in any case, including broccoli, better if slightly steamed, in a varied and healthy diet could be a good choice to take advantage from the powerful anticancer action supplied by indole-3 carbinol.