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Eat This for Better Joint Health

As we age our joint movements change, becoming stiffer and less flexible. This is because the amount of synovial fluid inside the joints decreases, and cartilage becomes thinner and more vulnerable.

Although this change is inevitable, some people go on to develop osteoarthritis, a common form of arthritis often found in the hands, hips and knees. A degenerative disease that occurs when the cartilage within a joint begins to break down and the bone changes, osteoarthritis affects around 10 million people in the UK. Ageing and obesity are the most common contributors to the condition and although pain relief can help manage the condition, joint replacement is the only possible cure.

First highlighted in a study carried out by the University of East Anglia, broccoli contains sulforaphane, a naturally occurring compound that inhibits the degradation of cartilage in joints that are showing signs of osteoarthritis.

Researchers discovered that sulforaphane works by entering the fluid inside joints, blocking the enzymes that cause destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation and thus helping slow down wear and tear. Other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts also contain sulforaphane but broccoli is considered to be the gold standard.

To help prevent the likelihood of osteoarthritis occurring and spreading, and reduce painful symptoms in later life, experts recommend eating around 100g, or a large handful, of broccoli every day.

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