You hear everyone talking about how healthy the broccoli is, but do you know why it’s so beneficial to your health? Researchers from the University of Illinois found out that consuming this superfood at least 3-4 times per week can help treat and prevent many diseases.
Some of these diseases include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Colorectal cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
The Potent Compounds
Researchers discovered that broccoli contains phenolic compounds which can help prevent the development of the above-listed diseases. The flavonoids in their content, a type of phenolic compound, improve the functions in the body which help decrease the risk of cancer.
Due to their antioxidant activity, these compounds help eliminate harmful toxins out of the body. What’s more, a lot of studies show phenolic compounds cause antioxidant activities which influence the biochemical pathways linked to inflammation.
When there’s some disease, damage or other risk threatening your health, your body’s natural response is inflammation. Chronic inflammation, which is a common reaction that occurs frequently, can cause certain degenerative diseases.
Luckily, the phenolic compounds found in broccoli and other foods can significantly reduce the risk of developing these degenerative diseases, says Jack Juvik, the lead researcher in the study.
How to Take Advantage of Broccoli’s Cancer-Fighting Properties
Besides eating it raw, you can also cook your broccoli and still benefit from its health-promoting properties. This is because the phenolic compounds in this vegetable aren’t affected by the cooking process, so they will remain beneficial to your health.
As you eat your broccoli, these compounds will be absorbed by the body and will enter your bloodstream, especially the flavonoids. Due to the strong antioxidant properties of flavonoids, they will reduce inflammation.
Karen Collins from the same university explain the best way to take advantage of the anti-cancer properties of broccoli is to heat it just enough so it could eliminate the protein which frees the present sulfur.
However, don’t heat your broccoli too much to preserve the anti-carcinogenic sulforaphane. This compound stimulates the production of liver enzymes which can destroy the cancer-causing chemicals coming from the environment or food. It seems the best cooking method for this vegetable is steaming.