Broccoli and arthritis

As I’ve gotten older, I take an aspirin now and then to help with the aches and pains of arthritis. I don’t want to do anything more complicated, like cortisone shots or surgery. But I might add more broccoli to my diet. A new study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism found that  sulfur compounds found in cruciferous vegetables — like broccoli — may battle inflammation, which is at the root of osteoarthritis.

The study began by feeding laboratory mice a diet high in sulforaphane, which is found in broccoli. Those mice had significantly less cartilage damage and fewer signs of osteoarthritis than mice fed a diet without the compound. The scientists moved on to human and cow cartilage cells and found the same thing to be true.

The theory is the sulfur compound might block the enzymes that lead to inflammation. Another trial is getting underway to see if broccoli can protect a small group of arthritis patients who are getting knee replacement surgery. This is good news for the estimated 12.4 million people in the U.S. suffering from arthritis, like me. But wouldn’t it be cool to prevent the inflammation and cartilage damage in the first place by simply adding more broccoli to your diet? Besides, eating broccoli could lower risks of other chronic diseases like obesity, which has also been tied to arthritis.