Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discovered an antioxidant found in broccoli and cauliflower may treat and possibly prevent chronic health problems.

Research shows cruciferous vegetables may fight disease

The study was published in the November edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Physiology professors Zhe Lu, Yanping Xu and senior research investigator Szilvia Szep showed that an antioxidant present in cauliflower and broccoli, thyiocyanate, could be effective against inflammation-based disorders like cystic fibrosis, diabetes and heart disease and neurodegeneration, according to a news release from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

The scientists’ work showed that the antioxidant protects cells from damage caused chemicals created by the body in response to infection and inflammation.

The authors pointed out that without adequate dietary supplies of thiocyanate, the body is susceptible to additional collateral damage to cells that worsens inflammatory diseases.