If your elderly loved one – and maybe even you – are looking for a way to ease the pain and debilitation of arthritis, it is possible that help is on the way. No, it’s not a new wonder drug. It’s broccoli!

Even if you’re not a fan of the cruciferous vegetable, your joints may well be. Broccoli is literally stuffed with vitamins A, B, K, C, as well as potassium, zinc and fiber. 

New studies have found that eating broccoli could help prevent or slow the most common form of arthritis. Millions of people – in particular the elderly – suffer from osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease especially affecting the hands, feet, spine, hips and knees. The joint disease is caused by the breakdown of cartilage and bone in joints, triggering pain and stiffness.

Researchers found that sulforaphane – a compound found in broccoli (as well as in sprouts and cabbage) – slows the destruction of cartilage in joints. A natural sulfur compound, sulforaphane can prevent joint pain in the same way COX-2 arthritis drugs do, but without the dangerous side effects. Additionally, the benefits last longer.

Broccoli also is loaded with salicylic acid (SA), the active ingredient in aspirin. SA works to reduce joint inflammation by inhibiting the production of prostaglandin hormones that cause joint swelling and tenderness, but without the bleeding problems of aspirin. 

Broccoli keeps cartilage healthy. Just a single cup is loaded with 123 mg of vitamin C (twice the minimum daily requirement), which creates and protects cartilage. Vitamin C may also heal arthritis because, as an antioxidant, it is a front-line defense against free radical damage to joints. It also facilitates the absorption of bone-strengthening calcium