Green is the new brown - at least from a tanning point of view.
As one of the UKs largest growers of the finest organic broccoli we were interested in recent research by The University of Arizona and John Hopkins University, Baltimore, which has revealed that broccoli may be a highly effective sunscreen. The research carried out by Professor Sally Dickinson identified Sulforaphane as the potentially active constituent that inhibits cancer causing pathways. The ScienceDaily has a more detailed explanation of the team's work.
Don't, however, go looking for broccoli based sunscreen products from Laboratoire Garnier, Nivea or in your local Boots any time soon. The team has yet to identify how much and in what concentrations this key ingredient of broccoli may be used.
Whatever you do don't boil broccoli to a mush, mash it and walk along the beach slathered in a broccoli based sunblock. You're more likely to be netted as a new species of sea creature. For the time being it's probably best to stick to steaming it lightly and, if the fancy takes you, serving it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or small knob of slightly salted butter. For a selection of great tasting recipes have a go at these on Loveyourgreens.
Broccoli has been a hot topic of conversation over recent months. Researchers at the University of East Anglia have also identified Sulforaphane as a compound that inhibits or slows the progress of osteoarthritis. Not content with its success in these two key areas, Sulforaphane has also been isolated by the Insitute of Food Research, in a paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, as a bioactive compound that is a potential weapon in reinvigorating human metabolism.
Moving on from the potential medicinal benefits of our broccoli (other broccoli producers are available) we were heartened to see that the notional leader of the free world, none other than Barack Obama, has proclaimed in favour of broccoli and it seems America is with him.
Despite the best efforts of George Bush Snr. in 1990 to decry broccoli banning it from Air Force One and the White House - ''I do not like broccoli,'' the President said, ''And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!'' broccoli sales have been in rude health over the past 30 years.
Finally, our cousins over the water have also decided to get behind broccoli in a big way marketing it as if it was a fast moving consumer good (FMCG) like chocolate bars or fizzy drinks. The New York Times brought an award winning advertising agency, Victor & Spoils, on board to change how broccoli was marketed. You can see the results of their efforts on theirs and on the New York Times website and one of their posters features above.