Home Health Mums who breastfeed should bank on broccoli to pass along essential nutrients to their children

Mums who breastfeed should bank on broccoli to pass along essential nutrients to their children

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Researchers have discovered that a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and radishes, can be transferred through breast milk. In the photo: archive photo
  • Researchers have discovered that a phytochemical can be transferred through breast milk.

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Breastfeeding mothers should eat broccoli and cabbage to pass on essential nutrients to their children, a study suggests.

Researchers have discovered that a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and radishes, can be transferred through breast milk.

Their current study is the first to focus on the transfer of sulforaphane (SFN), a sulfur-based nutrient thought to offer protection against cancer and diabetes.

The team, from Texas A&M University, measured SFN levels in the milk of nursing mothers who had eaten cruciferous vegetables in the previous 24 hours.

Author Dr Natalie Johnson said: “Phytochemicals are thought to offer protection against cardiovascular disease, cancer and loss of cognitive function.

Researchers have discovered that a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and radishes, can be transferred through breast milk. In the photo: archive photo

Researchers have discovered that a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and radishes, can be transferred through breast milk. In the photo: archive photo

Their current study is the first to focus on the transfer of sulforaphane (SFN), a sulfur-based nutrient thought to offer protection against cancer and diabetes. In the photo: archive photo

Their current study is the first to focus on the transfer of sulforaphane (SFN), a sulfur-based nutrient thought to offer protection against cancer and diabetes. In the photo: archive photo

Their current study is the first to focus on the transfer of sulforaphane (SFN), a sulfur-based nutrient thought to offer protection against cancer and diabetes. In the photo: archive photo

“We wanted to find out if phytochemicals or their metabolites can be transferred into breast milk to provide protection.”

The analysis revealed that the nutrient was detectable in the mothers’ breast milk, suggesting that nursing babies are exposed to it through diet.

Separate studies in mice found that SFN activated “protective” genes in the liver and lungs of offspring.

Writing in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacy, researchers said: “A bioactive plant metabolite was detected in the breast milk of mothers who ate cruciferous vegetables.

“Consumption of cruciferous vegetables during breastfeeding may provide benefits to babies.”

Previous studies have also found that caffeine and flavonoids can be transmitted through breast milk.

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