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Broccoli ‘super soup’ may help keep type 2 diabetes at bay

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Imagine eating a bowl of soup once a week that could help bring down your blood sugar levels and so reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.This may sound like wishful thinking or the latest fad, but Smarter Food says this is already a reality for its customers.The secret, according to the company, is the star ingredient of its packet vegetable soup: a special type of broccoli first discovered growing wild in Sicily by the company’s lead scientist, Prof Richard Mithen.

After years of research and plant breeding, it has developed a new strain of broccoli called GRextra, which it grows and processes into soup in Scotland.Cruciferous vegetables – the part of the brassica family that includes broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage – naturally contain a compound called glucoraphanin.

Once this chemical reaches the gut, it is converted into an active form called sulforaphane, which helps to improve the way cells in the body work, and has been seen to reverse the slowdown in metabolism associated with ageing.Smarter Food, which sells its products under the brand SmarterNaturally, was spun out from the Quadram Institute, the Norwich-based food and health research centre and is part government-funded through grants from UK Research and Innovation, along with venture capital funding.The soup’s benefits are based on Mithen’s research on glucoraphanin. “There is a really large and growing body of published data, which is all peer-reviewed, published science around glucoraphanin and sulforaphane” says the chief executive, Laura Knight. “We’ve created a food product that delivers a really high quantity of this compound.”Their research has found that each portion of soup, made from GRextra which is freeze-dried raw,

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