Including a new broccoli variety in the diet could significantly improve your heart health as it reduces levels of bad cholesterol in blood by around 6%, says a study.
The broccoli variety was bred to contain two to three times more of a naturally occurring compound glucoraphanin and it is already available in British supermarkets under the name Beneforte.
"Evidence from two independent human studies indicates that consumption of high glucoraphanin broccoli significantly reduces plasma LDL-C (Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol)," said lead researcher Charlotte Armah from the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in Norwich, Britain.
Elevated LDL cholesterol is a recognised risk factor for heart disease. Working with colleagues at the University of Reading, in two independent studies, the researchers gave a total of 130 volunteers 400g of the high glucoraphanin broccoli per week to include in their normal diet.
After 12 weeks, they saw the levels of LDL-cholesterol in their blood drop by an average of about 6%.
Although the reduction seen in these trials is small, at a population level, a 1% reduction in LDL-cholesterol has been associated with a 1 to 2% reduction in risk of coronary artery disease, the researchers pointed out.
Glucoraphanin is thought to work by helping our bodies retune cellular metabolism. The glucoraphanin-rich broccoli was developed by using traditional breeding techniques, the researchers noted.
The study appeared in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.