16/09/2010 10:20 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Eating Broccoli Could Protect Your Joints

We all know how important it is to eat our greens, but there's another reason to pile up your plate with broccoli. According to scientists at the University of East Anglia, eating broccoli could help protect your joints against arthritis later in life.

MorgueFile, anitapatterson

Osteoarthritis - the most common form of arthritis caused by wear and tear of the joints - may not be something you think you should worry about now, but it's the leading cause of disability in the UK and affects around six million people. It can affect your hands, feet, spine, hips and knees.

Your lifestyle while you're in your 30s could play a big part in whether or not you develop osteoarthritis in the future - for instance, if you do a lot of high-impact exercise you could already be putting a strain on your joints, and that could lead to problems later on.

But eating broccoli, apparently, could be one way to keep your joints strong. That's because it contains a compound called sulforaphane, which blocks the enzymes that cause wear and tear on the joints.

The East Anglian researchers are currently doing tests on how sulforaphane - which is also found in other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, but particularly in broccoli - gets into the joints. They are also looking at other compounds including diallyl disulphide, found in garlic, which is thought to protect cartilage (the substance that cushions the ends of bones in the joints).

Broccoli has previously been linked with a reduced risk of cancer, but this is the first time it's being studied as a means of protecting your joints.

So tell us, do you get enough broccoli and other healthy veg in your diet?