Broccoli can prevent and treat stroke

An antioxidant substance present in broccoli, sulforaphane, could made possible this 'miracle'

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Broccoli can prevent and treat stroke
© Dan Kitwood / Staff Getty Images News

Broccoli is a plant native to ancient Rome. It is cultivated in various areas of Italy and the world and is widespread mainly in the Mediterranean area, more precisely in the area between Greece, Turkey, Syria and Cyprus. It is a very well-known vegetable internationally.

Its use in the kitchen is widespread throughout much of Europe and the world, especially after cooking and for the preparation of soups and stews. Broccolo is native to Southern Italy and even today, outside Italy, it is associated with Italian cuisine. It can be eaten raw in dips, but is especially enhanced by steaming, gratinated or sautéed. It is part of numerous typical regional preparations.

This vegetable is made up of 92% water and has a small percentage of fiber and protein. It also contains some mineral salts such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins C, A and those of group B. It also has therapeutic uses as a vermifuge, emollient and anti-anemic food. The presence of isothiocyanates is also recorded.

Does broccoli prevent stroke?

A recent study has shown how broccoli helps prevent and treat stroke. This would be possible thanks to sulforaphane, an antioxidant substance present in broccoli.
When a stroke occurs, doctors intervene with anticoagulant drugs which are effective only in a low percentage of cases.

Sulforaphane present in broccoli could become an active ingredient in new generation anticoagulant drugs to treat stroke patients, thanks to the results of a research team led by the University of Sydney.

Broccoli© Peter Macdiarmid / Staff Getty Images Sport

The study demonstrated how sulforaphane alters platelet responses to adenosine diphosphate and a thromboxane A2 receptor agonist while not influencing the activation of thrombin and collagen-related peptide, reducing the formation of platelet thrombi under conditions of arterial flow.

Professor Xuyu Liu, director of the research, said: "After a patient has an ischemic stroke, they are treated with tissue plasminogen activator, a type of drug that breaks up clots to slow the progression of brain damage. Unfortunately it is only successful in 20% of cases. 

What we found in a preclinical study is that the success rate of tPA increases to 60% when the drug is administered with the compound derived from broccoli. The interesting thing is that this natural compound does not cause any signs of bleeding, which is a common side effect associated with anticoagulant agents tested in the treatment of stroke."