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Signs of oxidation—the interaction of oxygen with other substances—are commonly seen in the browning of a cut apple or avocado, on copper that has turned green, and on the rusty part of a nail. The cells of our bodies react to oxygen exposure as well, and though some oxidation effects are good, for example when the immune system uses this process to fight infections, too much oxidation may harm health—especially when living with a health condition, such as diabetes.
Fortunately, research has found that a healthy diet can protect against excess oxidation. Expanding on those previous findings, a new study suggests that broccoli sprouts may be a star player for keeping oxidation in balance in people with type 2 diabetes.
To look at the relationship between broccoli sprouts and stress on the body caused by oxidation, researchers randomly selected 81 people with type 2 diabetes to consume 5 or 10 grams of broccoli sprout powder per day, or a placebo containing no supplement. The researchers looked at blood measures of oxidative stress at the start and completion of the four-week study, including:
Blood tests showed that health markers significantly improved in those who took the broccoli sprout powder, including decreases in the oxidative stress index, decreased blood levels of oxidized LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and decreased levels of MDA (higher MDA indicates more oxidation). Broccoli sprout powder improved total antioxidant capacity as well.
Taking 10 grams of broccoli sprout powder daily led to the largest improvements in measures of oxidative stress, but 5 grams also improved these measures more than placebo.
This study suggests that broccoli sprout powder may balance excess oxidation in people with type 2 diabetes. To help you put this information to use in your life and take advantage of other ways to keep oxidation at bay, try the following:
(Eur J Clin Nutr May 11, 2011; published online ahead of print)
Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.