Here’s some good news for people living with diabetes: Researchers have now identified a new anti-diabetic substance, richly found in broccoli, that can significantly lower the blood sugar levels.

You can either toss some boiled broccoli to your salad or add it to your pasta and other food items.

The findings indicated that blood sugar of the animals that received sulforaphane dropped by 23 percent in four weeks.

Study author Anders Rosengren from the University of Gothenburg said that there are strong indications that sulforaphane can become a valuable supplement to existing medication. The objective was to find new medications against type-2 diabetes by addressing an important disease mechanism: the liver’s elevated glucose production.

The classic drug metformin works by doing just that, but often causes gastric side-effects and can also not be taken when kidney function is severely reduced, which affects many diabetes patients.

The researchers analysed 2,800 participants investigated and found that sulforaphane proved to have the best characteristics for the task. An antioxidant that was previously studied for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory disease, but not for diabetes was thereby identified.

Cell experiments were followed by animal studies on rats and mice with dietary-induced diabetes. The blood sugar of the animals that received sulforaphane dropped by 23 percent in four weeks, and by 24 percent in those given metformin.

Anders Rosengren explained that when sulforaphane was removed from the extract, the effect disappeared and then they also looked at the genes from the liver of the animals and saw that the 50 key genes had been changed in the right direction.

A daily dose of sulforaphane is extracted from four to five kilograms of broccoli.

Anders Rosengren noted that sulforaphane targets a central mechanism in Type-2 diabetes and has a mild side-effect profile. As functional food, it can reach the patients faster than a medication, and it is also an interesting concept from a diabetes perspective, where diet is central.

The entire study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.