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Super broccoli helps fight ageing

Broccoli floret Credit: PA Images

Scientists have come up with more proof that greens really are good for you.

Work carried out at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich has shown that a superfood broccoli sold under the name Beneforte can retune metabolism to combat the effects of ageing as well as protecting against heart disease and cancer.

Scientists have developed 'super broccoli' Credit: ITV News Anglia

Scientists who tested it on volunteers saw metabolic changes that were the biological equivalent of a car's 12,000 mile service.

Tiny energy generators in cells called mitochondria, which become less efficient with age, were given a new lease of life and had their performance improved.

Eating the broccoli helped reverse mitochondrial malfunctions that contribute to problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.

Beneforte was created using conventional breeding techniques by crossing conventional broccoli with a wild Italian variety that has naturally high levels of glucoraphanin.

Scientists have developed 'super broccoli' Credit: ITV News Anglia

It contains two to three times more of the compound than ordinary broccoli and much higher levels than other "cruciferous" vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower.

The findings underlined the health benefits of eating cruciferous vegetables in general, although Beneforte showed the most striking effect, said the team led by Professor Richard Mithen from the Institute of Food Research.

Beneforte was developed at the Institute of Food Research and John Innes Centre, both based in Norwich.

It was launched at Marks & Spencer stores in 2011 and appeared in other supermarkets the following year.