(NaturalNews) British scientists have developed a new variety of broccoli that contains up to three times more of a powerful heart-health nutrient than conventional varieties -- and they did so without the use of genetic modification (GM). However, the "super" broccoli, known as "Beneforte," also contains less vital sulfur than conventional varieties.
By cross-breeding traditional British broccoli with wild, bitter Sicilian broccoli, researchers from the Institute for Food Research and the John Innes Centre, both in Norwich, England, were able to produce the Beneforte variety, which contains up to three times the normal amount of glucoraphanin (GRP).
GRP is a precursor to sulforaphane (SF), which is the actual nutrient responsible for providing anticancer, anti-diabetic, and antimicrobial benefits. GRP in its standalone form provides little, if any, health benefits, and must come into contact with myrosinase (MYR), another enzyme naturally present in broccoli, in order to become metabolized into beneficial SF.
The Beneforte scientists, however, claim the extra GRP in their broccoli helps to improve the breakdown down of fat in the body, and prevent it from building up in arteries and causing heart disease. They also say that eating Beneforte helps to reduce cholesterol levels, and are currently conducting human studies to verify these claims.
"There's a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to (glucoraphanin and related compounds) as the most important preventive agents for (heart attacks) and certain cancers," Lars Ove Dragsted, a professor at the University of Copenhagen's department of human nutrition, is quoted as saying by USA Today
Since it is not GM, Beneforte is unlikely to have any negative side effects. After all, many non-GM fruits and vegetables sold in stores today are hybridized. However, unless there is extra MYR in Beneforte along with the extra GRP, it is unclear whether this so-called "super" variety of broccoli is any more beneficial to health than standard varieties.
Beneforte was introduced in the UK last month, and has been available in select stores in California and Texas for roughly the past year. And within the next couple of weeks, it is set to be introduced in stores across the US.