Feed your joints

Your joints are an underappreciated part of your body. Where we admiringly gaze on a bulging muscle, a well formed nose, flowing hair or bright eyes, alas, joints go largely unvalued. Yet joints are absolutely vital to your quality of life. Joints and the muscles they connect with provide you with stability and allow you to move through the world. For the most part though they are taken for granted … that is until something goes wrong. So it is worth doing what you can to keep your joints healthy and a new study suggests that eating your broccoli might be a good way to do this.

One of the most common joint problems is osteoarthritis. It is essentially a result of wear and tear on joints and can affect the knees, hips, spine, feet and hands. Over time the cartilage pads in these joints wear away, resulting in the pain, inflammation and immobility of osteoarthritis. There are natural treatments like glucosamine and omega-3 fats that can help, but the disease can severely limit movement and quality of life so it is far better to prevent it. Now this new study has suggested that broccoli and some other foods may be able to do just that.

Sulphorophane is the compound responsible for the beneficial effect of broccoli in this research. Foods like broccoli contain glucosinolates that are converted to sulphorophane in your digestive tract. These glucosinolates are found richly supplied in broccoli and other vegetables belong to the cruciferous family including cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and bok choy.

These researchers tested sulphorophane directly on cartilage cells, on human joint tissue and also on mice. In all cases they found that sulphorophane blocked enzymes that destroy cartilage by intercepting a protease molecule that causes inflammation.

The next step for these researchers is to have osteoarthritis patients about to have surgery eat “super broccoli” enhanced with added sulphorophane. After surgery the intention is to compare those given broccoli to those who have not had it. In the meantime, eating your broccoli and its cruciferous cousins would be a nice way to show some love to your neglected joints.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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