Food As Medicine
Could broccoli really help to alleviate the symptoms of autism? In this post we will look at a study which has suggested just that. It has long been known that food plays a huge part in our health. There are claims that ‘we are what we eat‘ and when it comes to this tasty green vegetable, the health benefits are overwhelming. It has been suggested that broccoli may prevent cancers, boost detoxification and work as a powerful anti-inflammatory thanks to it’s antioxidant properties. Broccoli has also been linked to heart disease prevention, allergies, diabetes and now it has been studied in connection with autism spectrum disorders – the results are looking promising.
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorders are known to effect 1 to 2% of the World’s population, affecting men more frequently than women. These conditions are characterised by various behavioural symptoms, including poor social interaction and problems with communication.
Researchers think that they may have uncovered a surprising way to ease these behavioural problems. The report recently published online has provided evidence that sulforaphane, a chemical naturally occurring in broccoli, may hold the key. Sulforaphane has already been studied for it’s potential benefits against certain kinds of cancer.
Sulforaphane is found in cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower but broccoli sprouts have been found to be the richest source.
The organic sulfur compound has been shown to have antimicrobial properties, slowing tumour growth in cancer, and helping fight a number of diseases as mentioned above. It can also inhibit Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria linked to gastric ulcers. This particular bacteria is frequently present in children with autism.
The recent report was based on a small short term clinical trial of more than 40 young men, aged 13 to 27 suffering with Autism Spectrum Disorders. A control group was given a placebo, and the remainder were administered a daily dose of the chemical compound sulforaphane.
The young men took their prescribed medication every day for 18 weeks, and their behaviour was measured by their parents and study staff.
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