Don’t like broccoli? What if I told you incorporating it into your diet might help with weight loss? A new study from Kanazawa University in Japan found that mice fed a high-fat diet that was supplemented with sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli sprouts, did not gain weight. The findings could open path to new weight loss therapies, aimed at including sulforaphane-rich foods or supplements.

The study, published online in Diabetes found that sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli sprouts, helped to reduce weight gain among mice fed a high-fat diet. For example, mice fed sulforaphane, in addition to high fat foods, gained 15 percent less, had 20 percent less fat around their waist and chest, and had lower blood glucose levels than mice fed the same exact diet minus sulforaphane.

Read: Broccoli Benefits: Cruciferous Vegetables May Protect Against Liver Cancer

The research showed that sulforaphane leads to more energy consumption and fat burning, while also helping to balance the amount of good bacteria in the gut. These work together to promote healthy weight, even in the presence of high fat diet. The team believe this property of sulforaphane may help the chemical one day be implemented as dietary supplement for obesity prevention.

Sulforaphane is a compound found in plants such as broccoli sprouts, brussel sprouts, and cabbage, LiveStrong reported. In addition to helping with weight loss, this study found that properties of sulforaphane may also help reduce inflammation of the liver and insulin resistance.

Past research has also shown that sulforaphane may have anticancer properties. For example, a 2015 study from Oregon State University found that sulforaphane is able to selectively kill cancer cells and thus prevent the cancer from metastasizing, or spreading to other parts of the body. Exactly how it is able to do this is still unclear. According to LiveStrong, the chemical helps to prevent certain enzymes from activating cancer-causing agents in the body while simultaneously increase the production of enzymes that clean carcinogens, or cancer-causing compounds, out of the body.

If cancer prevention and weight loss aren’t enough to persuade you to add more broccoli to your diet, the vegetable is also linked to better liver health. A 2016 study from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences found that mice fed broccoli had better overall liver function and developed less liver nodules than mice not given broccoli. In addition, while this study in particular did not note a difference in weight between mice fed broccoli and those not given the vegetable, they did things that mice given broccoli were overall healthier, in particular to their liver function.

Looking to add more broccoli to your diet? The best way to prepare broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may be lightly steamed, as this preserves higher amounts of sulforaphane, LiveStrong reported.

Source: Nagata N, Xu L, Kohno S, et al. Glucoraphanin Ameliorates Obesity and Insulin Resistance Through Adipose Tissue Browning and Reduction of Metabolic Endotoxemia in Mice. Diabetes . 2017

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