Accessible, affordable and without side effects, broccoli is said to be very effective against type 2 diabetes.
Swedish researchers have tested 3800 substances in cultured cells to assess their effects on some 50 genes associated with the overproduction of glucose by the liver. Analysis of the results showed that sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, but also in Brussels sprouts and other cabbages, induced the most effective genetic modification.
After these cellular experiments, the authors carried out tests on diabetic rodents, feeding them a diet based on broccoli. After four weeks, their blood sugar had dropped 23%, compared to 24% with metformin, an anti-diabetic drug known for its many side effects.
Based on these results, the team conducted a study in 100 patients for a period of 12 weeks, using an extract of sprouted broccoli. As a result, the researchers were able to observe a significant reduction in fasting blood sugar in participants, and even more particularly in the study subjects with higher blood sugar levels.
Besides the effect of sulforaphane, we know that broccoli is a cruciferous tree rich in chromium. This trace element, known as "glucose tolerance factor", interacts directly with insulin receptors on the surface of cells, allowing recognition and proper binding with insulin. Indeed, the chromium deficiencies observed following numerous studies showed a significant alteration in glucose.
For all these reasons, regular consumption of broccoli, raw or lightly steamed, could offer an interesting alternative for people with type 2 diabetes looking for additional nutritional support. Plus, it tastes delicious!
AXELSSON, A.S., Tubbs, E., Mecham, B. & al. (2017). Sulforaphane reduces hepatic glucose production and improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Science Translational Medicine, 9, (394), 4477.