Can broccoli cure cancer?

I’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about the Greens’ food policies here in recent months.  Mostly when I do it is about the consumer rights to know and choose, the economic and environmental impacts of multinational industrial food versus locally grown and produced, and the need for people to have access to affordable safe food. But the other issue of course, is health.  A good food policy is the key plank of a good healthcare policy.  While we can talk waiting lists, hospital extensions, Pharmac and DHBs, the things that are actually going to have the most impact are much closer to home. Such as for example this story from the Guardian asking if broccoli can cure cancer:

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage contain a group of phytochemicals that seem to have cancer-preventing properties. One recent study found that these substances could enhance DNA repair in cells. Another found that men who ate one daily portion of broccoli had altered patterns of gene activity in their prostates. However, it was a small study and more research is needed before anyone can say that eating broccoli lowers your chances of prostate cancer.

I don’t want to push this barrow further than it deserves, because as the story itself notes, we are not talking about miracle cures here, just proof of the self evident – that our diet affects our health.  But given it is self evidently true surely it is worth investing some government more time and money into making sure everyone has the ability and choice to eat healthy fresh food.

sexy broccoli

Credit for photo of sexy broccoli – SMN

24 Comments Posted

  1. Oh Heck

    Roast a slab of cow
    heave in a few potatoes to roast
    slap a bag of peas in the microwave
    then

    shed the outers leaves and cut an X in the bottom of the sprouts. Totally submerge them boiling water with a quater teaspoon of salt and a heavy pinch of baking soda, keep them there till the cores are soft and the heads are what my daughter describes as ‘slimy’. Drain and use the water to make gravey. As good a sunday roast as you can get.

    For extra flavour, mix up some sage and onion stuffing in the normal way, then mix that in with four times the volume of mashed potatoes. Pop this in the oven for the last half hour of the meat cooking, and leave there while you rest the beef.

  2. “I planted a six-pack of seedlings and now have an overabundance of sprouts. ”

    Lightly steamed, lots of pepper. Can’t think of anything clever to do with them other than giving them to your neighbours.

  3. Got it, use silverbeet where the recipe says spinach. Same as using leeks where the recipe says onions. Which brings me to brussel sprouts. I planted a six-pack of seedlings and now have an overabundance of sprouts. 101 recipes for brussel spouts, anyone?

  4. I’ve got nothing against silverbeet; I steam it then sprinkle with toasted seeds, bread crumbs & a little cheese but I will swop it any day for steamed puha.
    Strait from soil to pot is the secret.
    Enbalmed food is the devils invention.

  5. Wow

    read a twenty five hundred page disclaimer before they’ll sell you a big mac for the kid

    Now that’s progress

    I liked this thread better when I could collect recipes for when my Vegetarian Daughter visits after the Olympics. (Her restrictions are that she won’t eat anything that’s had a face – so we have to check the potatoes, etc., very carefully! Swiss Chard however does not benefit from such scrutiny.)

  6. As a keen believer that we are what we eat I have constantly battled with doctors and health workers about using some drugs when there were well proven dietary alternatives. When it comes to ACC or the like I have collected the pills then used the food – in case they end up telling me I have invalidated the ACC process.

    I feel that nutrition is not properly taught to doctors so they do not consider it sufficiently Of course the drug companies are often funding research and education.

    The trick is that it is a fairly complex area with many interactions. It is therefore important to cover food groups daily in a good mix, but for the cancer fighting etc. it is quite important to have a good selection of fresh, in season vegetables and fruit. A Japanese food awareness concept called Macrobiotics I find quite enlightening.

    One of the things I have tried to explain to people regards our air pollution is the need for the body to maintain a correct ph for its effective health functioning. Pollutants are usually acidic and therefore ultimately lower our immunity response – thus the increase in cancers and other health issues as we drive everywhere and get our food days old through the shops.

    A simple thing I read about Bird flu was the children dying were being attacked in the lungs by their overactivated immune to a new virus. Kelp powder has simple ingredients that help our bodies immune to recognise our own cells – it seems to me a cheap natural way to allow our children to face bugs and increasing their chances of survival with immunity. Something we may need to consider with GE being pushed by the same people who pushed tamiflu.

    Maybe we should simply make all health product seller – natural or otherwise – to put out a full explanation of the natural process that their product is working with and what the natural foods are. Then they have to do proper research..

  7. my favourite silverbeet recipe is with feta cheese, walnuts, garlic, parsley and nutmeg, but I refuse to believe it’s a wonder food. We’re getting reports of all kinds of vegetables being wonder foods at the moment, and the claims all seem to be based on very small statistical advantages.

  8. I read about silverbeet as a miracle food on some yank website (they call it Swiss Chard) recently, but can’t remember the particular value of the stuff.

    Oddly, it’s one of the few foods one child I know really likes.

    Try it in a white sauce, or even better, in a peanut butter lasagne (make lasagne, layer lightly cooked silverbeet with lasagne sheets and a satay sauce (peanut butter, chilli, salt, sugar, oil, coconut cream, lemon juice or tamarind pulp), top with breadcrumbs and bake. You can feed vegans on it as long as you leave eggs out of the lasagne, and it’s way yummy, even though it sounds a bit weird.

  9. Kevyn

    Did it up man!, sliver beet is the devils food.

    Anybody who feeds that to their kids should be arrested for child abuse.

  10. a dob of butter on your cooked silver beet is perfectly yummy, & maybe a little garlic, pepper.
    or sour cream

  11. Does silverbeet cure anything? Can it be made to taste nice? Why is it growing in my vege garden when I’ve never ever planted any?

  12. I wouldn’t claim that broccoli can cure cancer based on one gentleman’s remission, though it does seem to reduce your chances of getting it in the first place.

    (And note that it’s still a game of chance — even if you do everything right, you’re still not immune. Then again, there’s many other benefits to a healthy diet.)

  13. Selenium is what we need for health (cancer prevention) and it doesn’t occur much in New Zealand’s soil. Broccoli however is rich in selenium and therefore NZers should flock to the sexy vege

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