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Broccoli: Nature's Wonder Food

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have discovered that the Brassica family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, contains a potent compound that has immune-boosting properties that can protect against viral and bacterial infections, as well as cancer. Len Bjeldanes, a toxicology professor who led the study, says the chemical is called diindolylmethane, or DIM, and it's released when chewed and digested.

Bjeldanes: Broccoli is basically a wonder food and this is without any regard to the chemical that we're working with. Broccoli contains the greatest variety and the greatest amounts of vitamins of any plant. And so in addition to that, you add these other cancer protective and immune-activating chemicals, it's something that you should really take very seriously.

Narrator: The study was performed in mice, but Bjeldanes says the next step is studying the effects of this chemical in humans.

Bjeldanes: We want to look at specifics; what are the responses? How much of this material does it take to get the response and go at it from that point of view.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.