Could this super-vegetable be the key to a longer healthier life?

The idea of a single weekly veg serving slashing your illness risk may seem eyebrow-raising, but the experts don’t think it’s that far fetched. 

“While it’s unlikely that this produce alone will have a big impact, it could contribute to the benefit of a healthier eating pattern that can help people reduce blood sugar levels and potentially reverse type 2 diabetes,” says David Cavan, consultant endocrinologist at the London Diabetes Centre. “There is a lot of evidence that leafy green veg are associated with reduced risk of developing the condition,” he adds – including research from the University of Leicester, which found that one and a half daily servings cut chances by 14 per cent. Type 2 diabetes, which is typically caused by lifestyle factors such as an unhealthy diet, currently affects around 4 million people in the UK, and accounts for 10 per cent of NHS spend.

How we consume these superfoods also makes a difference. While supplements can be taken to boost certain vitamin deficiencies, eating the foods in their whole form means that micronutrients within them, from fibres to minerals, are processed in the gut, and typically at higher levels than via cooked or pill versions. Extracting the glucoraphanin and putting it into capsules, for instance, could achieve similar results to the soup, but only if several very large ones were consumed at once. SmarterNaturally’s product, which is in part funded by UK Research and Innovation (which is seeking to make Britain a world leader in biofortified foods), is made from mixing their freeze-dried raw broccoli blend with 250ml of boiling water.

While broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes with stickers boasting their high vitamin D content have periodically made their way onto supermarket shelves, the process of creating turbo-charged veg can be long – to the tune of decades, Martin adds – as a result of the regulations around products with health claims. She is currently working on a provitamin D-rich tomato, edited to increase the amount of vitamin D3 (key for muscle, bone strength and immune function) when exposed to UVB light. This crop could, it is hoped, benefit the one in six UK adults who suffer vitamin D deficiency, which is linked to higher cancer, dementia and mortality risk.

Source link