Broccoli and tomatoes that are grown in soil rich in certain compounds may help in preventing cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
For the trial, a team of researchers from the University of Illinois gave rats several types of powder that contained 10 percent of broccoli and tomatoes grown normally, and vegetables that were introduced to high levels of certain chemicals. The investigators used tomatoes that were high in lycopene, a red pigment, and broccoli that was rich in selenium, an important mineral that improves overall health that were both ground up and put in the powder.
The researchers found that rats that were fed the powders that contained the vegetables with high levels of lycopene and selenium has six times more compounds in their bodies that fight against cancer.
“This research shows that you can greatly increase a foods bioactive benefits through normal farming practices, without resorting to genetic engineering,” said Elizabeth Jeffery, a professor of food science and human nutrition from the school. She added that “not only could selenium in broccoli deliver this necessary mineral, it also appears to rev up the vegetables cancer-fighting power.
In 2009, a total of 292,540 men and 269,800 women in the U.S. died from cancer, according to the American Cancer Association.