Can broccoli protect smokers against cancer?

Broccoli has anti-cancer benefitsBroccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are already recognized for their nutritional and health benefits.

And now, scientists are suggesting the foods may actually help to protect smokers – and those who have already quit the habit – against lung cancer.

Dr. Li Tang and colleagues and Roswell Park Cancer Institute looked at the effects of consuming both raw and cooked forms of various cruciferous vegetables among current and former smokers.

The results ranged from a 20 percent decreased risk to a 55 percent reduction in lung cancer, depending on how long the individual had smoked and what type of vegetable they ate.

In contrast, no significant results were noted based on the consumption of fruits and vegetables in general.

“These findings, along with others, indicate cruciferous vegetables may play a more important role in cancer prevention among people exposed to cigarette-smoking,” Li commented.

Last year, researchers at Oregon State University found a link between cruciferous vegetables and lower rates of different forms of cancer.

Cauliflower, bok choy and Brussels sprouts are among the other vegetables categorized as cruciferous.