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Greens 'good for the heart'

7th September 2009

UK scientists have said a chemical found in green vegetables could be responsible for preventing heart problems.

broccoliandbacon

Researchers at Imperial College said a chemical contained in brassica vegetables could stop fatty plaques building up on arteries. Brassicas include broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, kale and rocket.

Heart disease is usually caused when fatty plaque builds up on arteries, which is known as atherosclerosis.

Certain sections of an artery are more affected by atherosclerosis, with a bend or branch particularly at risk because blood flow is weaker.

The researchers found that a protein known as Nrf2 - which offers protection from atherosclerosis - is "inactive" in the areas more affected by fatty plaque building up.

However, the study showed that these areas could be treated with a chemical found in brassicas in order to activate the protein.

Head researcher Dr Paul Evans said: "Treatment with the natural compound sulforaphane reduced inflammation at the high-risk areas by 'switching on' Nrf2."

"Sulforaphane is found naturally in broccoli, so our next steps include testing whether simply eating [brassicas]... has the same protective effect."

"We also need to see if the compound can reduce the progression of disease in affected arteries."

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Article Information

Title: Greens 'good for the heart'
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 12566
Date Added: 7th Sep 2009

Sources

BBC News

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