Previous studies have hailed the cruciferous vegetable's protective effects against breast, prostate and colon cancer . But now, a new study adds liver cancer to the list.

The study , led by Prof. Elizabeth Jeffery at the University of Illinois showed that "The normal story about broccoli and health is that it can protect against a number of different cancers, but nobody had looked at liver cancer ."

In previous research, Prof. Jeffery and colleagues showed that sulforaphane - broccoli's cancer-fighting compound - is best acquired by eating the vegetable chopped or lightly steamed.

Broccoli - along with cauliflower or Brussel sprouts - is a brassica vegetable, and previous research has suggested that brassica vegetables could stop the accumulation of fat in the liver, protecting against NAFLD.

Results showed that mice who were fed the Westernized diet saw an increase in both the number and size of cancer nodules in the liver. When broccoli was added to the diet, however, the number of nodules decreased.

The researchers found that broccoli appeared to decrease uptake of fat into the liver, which increased the output of lipids.

"I think it's very difficult, particularly given the choices in fast food restaurants, for everybody to eat a lower-fat diet," says Prof. Jeffery. "But more and more now you can get broccoli almost everywhere you go. Most restaurants will offer broccoli, and it's really a good idea to have it with your meal."

Previous studies have suggested that eating broccoli three to five times per week can lower the risk of other cancers.

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