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Broccoli Fights Cataracts

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India—Broccoli appears to support antioxidant defenses in the eye to fight development of cataract, according to researchers from the University of Kerala (Curr Eye Res. 2010 Feb;35(2):99-107). Researchers studied whether Brassica oleracea var. italic (broccoli) could prevent selenite-induced biochemical changes and cataractogenesis in rat pups. Animals were divided into four groups: control, sodium selenite, sodium selenite plus quercetin, and sodium selenite plus flavonoid fraction of broccoli.

Animals receiving the quercetin or broccoli fraction plus selenite had only mild opacifications, compared to dense opacification in rats given only selenite. Further, the lenses of the animals that received either flavonoid had significantly higher values of antioxidant enzymes and reduced glutathione, and lower levels of lipid perioxidation and calcium compared to the selenite-only rats. The research team concluded the broccoli flavonoid fraction could prevent selenite-induced cataractogenesis, possibly by maintaining antioxidant status and ionic balance, and inhibiting lipid peroxidation and activation of calpains.

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