The University of East Anglia team is starting human trials following on from successful lab studies.
Tests on cells and mice showed that a broccoli compound – which humans can also get from Brussels sprouts and cabbage – blocked a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage.
They are asking 20 patients to eat a daily dose of “super-charged” broccoli.
This special cruciferous vegetable has been bred to be extra rich in nutrients – it is a cross between standard broccoli and a wild relative from Sicily.
Our body takes this glucoraphanin compound and turns it into another, called sulforaphane, which appears to protect the joints.