Before you grill your steaks, you probably take the time to scrape off the black gunk from the grates. You also avoid cigarette smoke. You even skip the harsh pesticides around your house. That‘s because these all contain known carcinogens. And if you can avoid them, you do. But what if I told you sulforaphane could help?
There‘s a carcinogen out there that‘s so pervasive...it‘s hard to avoid. It’s a chemical called styrene, and according the EPA, the compound is in everything, including building materials, consumer products, food packaging, childrens toys, and more. Several recent studies suggest there may be a link between exposure to this compound and an increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma, among other cancers.
Drowning in a sea of carcinogens
There are a lot of mixed messages out there about styrene. The U.S. government says the biggest exposure comes from cigarette smoke.
But the EPA says otherwise. According the EPA, indoor air is the way most of us get exposed to styrene. That‘s because styrene is in everything, including building materials and consumer products. It all contains styrene.
Interestingly, indoor air in urban settings tends to contain more styrene than indoor air in rural areas.
Gee, great. And I was just starting to feel less anxious as a non-smoker.
Now, there is some good news in this whole mess...
I have always said that prevention is the key. And a new study released earlier this month puts my faith back in the power of eating well.
It all comes down to a phytochemical found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables called sulforaphane.
Crunchy vegetable targets and kills cancer cells
This month, scientists pinpointed for the first time exactly why broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are so good for us: sulforaphane. Not only does sulforaphane help to prevent cancer by protecting your DNA from damage, it also targets and kills actual cancer cells.
You‘ve probably heard me talk about sulforaphane before. So when the University of Oregon researchers released the results of their sulphoraphane study, I had to tell you about it.
For the study, U of O researchers applied sulforaphane to healthy prostate cells and cancerous prostate cells. Then, they waited. Before too long, the researchers jumped for joy. The cancerous prostate cancer cells all died.
But wait, the results from sulforaphane are even more impressive...
As you know, chemotherapy kills cancer cells. However, it also kills healthy cells. In fact, it kills all the cells in your body that divide quickly. This includes cells that grow hair. That‘s why your hair falls out when you go on many kinds of chemo.
But sulphoraphane is different. It killed the cancerous cells, but it also left the healthy prostate cells alone!
As you can imagine, this is a huge discovery. In fact, Big Pharma has already caught wind of it and is trying to make a synthetic version of sulphoraphane. They need a synthetic version because they can‘t patent and market something you can grow yourself in the backyard.
U of O researchers said plans are already underway for a clinical trial with sulphoraphane. This means they will try using sulforaphane on living breathing humans...not just in a lab.
So while we may indeed live among a growing sea of carcinogens, take solace. Eat your broccoli. Eat your cauliflower. The sulforaphane in these veggies will help protect your DNA.
P.S. Just in case you were wondering, here‘s the rest of the list:
- Aristolochic acids, a botanical
- Captafol, a fungicide
- Cobalt-tungsten carbide, a type of metal used to make tools
- Certain inhalable glass wool fibers
- o-Nitrotoluene, used to make dyes
- Riddelliine, a botanical