'Super broccoli' hits grocery shelves in the UK

This week in the UK shoppers at major grocery stores such as Marks and Spencer can now purchase what is being dubbed "super broccoli," developed by British researchers to contain what they say are higher levels of cancer-fighting phytonutrients.

The new broccoli, Beneforté, contains extra potent levels of glucoraphanin, which is found naturally in ordinary broccoli and is thought to help lower the risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.

Beneforté is priced at 50p more a pack than normal broccoli, and according to an October 4 press release it aims for wider distribution next year. Late last year controversial agribusiness giant Monsanto and Apio Inc. quietly launched a US-grown version of the super broccoli.

Rather than rely on genetic modification to create the new veg, the Institute of Food Research in Norwich and the John Innes Centre used conventional breeding techniques to create a type of broccoli containing two to three times as much glucoraphanin than standard broccoli, yet tastes the same, according to media reports.

Want to boost broccoli's cancer-fighting abilities even further? Add mustard, horseradish or wasabi to your broccoli, according a study published last month. The secret sidekick is an enzyme called myrosinase which is necessary to form sulforaphane from glucoraphanin. When a food item containing the enzyme was eaten with broccoli, scientists at the University of Ilinois found that the combination revved up the production of sulforaphane in both foods.

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