The Remarkable Health Benefits of Broccoli, and How to Maximize Its Cancer-Fighting Potential
Vegetables are an important source of vitamins, nutrients and many health benefits.However, some of them differ in the healing properties from others. One such vegetable is broccoli, it belongs to the group of cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and many others.
Broccoli’s consumption can reduce the risk of some diseases including:
- Kidney disease
Broccoli Contains Many Health Improving Properties
By consuming broccoli, you provide your body with a great numer of nutrients needed for optimal and energized health. Broccoli is rich in:
- Fiber: It gives you a high amount of fiber, that boost your immune system and nourish your microbiome.
- Sulforaphane: This organic sulfur compound found in broccoli kills cancerous cells and prevents cancer growth. According to the conducted studies, the sulforaphane causes apoptosis, a normal and controlled death of cells as part of the organism’s development, especially for lung, prostate, breast cells. If you consume broccoli three times a week, you reduce risk of prostate cancer for more than 60%. It increases the production of enzymes which protect blood vessels and reduces the molecules that cause cell damage, known as “reactive oxygen species” (ROS) for more than 73%. It not only boost the immune system but also fights inflammations. Sulforaphane increases the levels of testosterone, prevent retention of body fat, protects muscles from damage, block some enzymes and detox carcinogens. Always choose raw, steamed or even roasted broccoli rather than frozen one, because it is not able to provide the body with sulforaphane.
- Glucoraphanin: It is the precursor of sulforaphane, a compound that increases the production of enzymes that fight cancer- causing chemicals. Broccoli sprouts in relation to mature broccoli, contain 20 times more of this compound.
- Phenolic compounds. These include phenolic and flavonoids acids, which fight free radicals and inflammation and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and asthma. The way they prevent these diseases is by the prevention of infections.
- Diindolylmethane (DIM): Out of these cruciferous veggies, the body produces DIM, an important compound for preventing and treating cancer.
Broccoli Prevents Fatty Liver and Liver Cancer
The so called “Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease” (NAFLD), affects more than 20% of people, even children in the USA as a result of an excessive accumulation of fats in your liver without an alcohol consumption. The main cause associated with this type of disease is the excessive intake of net carbs, especially fructose from soda and juices. If not treated on time, this state can cause liver cancer.
This is so because the high consumption of fructose, contrary to other sugars, damages your liver similarly to alcohol and toxins.
According to a study in 2015, the ingested carbohydrates are greater causes of NAFLD than an intake of fats.
Therefore, a long-term intake of broccoli can prevent the development of NAFLD and liver cancer by lowering the triglyceride levels in your body.
Why are Broccoli Sprouts a Better Choice?
The broccoli sprouts are a great choice if you don’t like the taste or smell of the mature broccoli. They are far more nutritious and potent as well as rich in sulforaphane.
Even a very small quantity of this type can significantly reduce the size of tumors caused by chemical carcinogenic radicals. According to the scientists from the University of Johns Hopkins, three-day-old broccoli sprouts have more than 50% of chemoprotective properties than the mature broccoli and may be an effective means of cancer protection.
Along with the previously mentioned benefits, broccoli sprouts produce significant fatty acids and fiber that release the minerals and proteins from the other foods you consume.
Another advantage is that you do not have to cook them. When eaten in a raw state, they produce a super-healthy nutritive component to your body. You can even grow them at home.
When Steamed Broccoli Provides a Greater Sulforaphane Content
In a raw state, mature broccoli provides about 12% of the total content of sulforaphane while you can boost this content by a proper preparation.
The Ph.D Elizabeth Jeffery, a leading scientist and professor, in a video interview, claims that a steamed broccoli for 3-4 minutes is ideal for your health but no more than that.
This way of preparation of broccoli, eliminates spithiospecifier protein, a sulfur-grabbing protein sensitive to heat, which makes the sulforaphane inactivate while on the other hand ratains the myrosinase, an enzyme that converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane.
You can provide the same effect by boiling or microwaving because even one minute of both types can destroy a great part of myrosinase. If you prefer it boiled, blanch it in boiling water for less than 30 seconds and then to cold water to prevent it from cooking.
If Added Some Mustard Seed, The Level of Sulforaphane Would be Even Greater
Some food that contain myrosinase will optimize the content of sulforaphane. According to a reort by the Cancer Research Institute in America, people eat broccoli with no active myrosinase but when eaten, the blood and urine levels of sulforaphane are immensely higher.
Where can we find this important enzyme?
- Cole slaw
- Daikon radishes
- Mustard seed
A research from 2013, has showed that the mustard seed contain a resilient myrosinase, a greater booster of sulforaphane even in boiled broccoli. The authors claimed that the boiled broccoli prevented formation of sulforaphane as a result of the inactive myrisinase while the powdered mustar seeds significantly increase the level of it.
It is very important to add some myrisinase-containing food, if you consume some other type rather than steamed or raw broccoli. The frozen one has already been affected by several processes that have inactivated myrosinase.
The Greater Consumption, The Greater The Results
Include some broccoli in your meals on a daily basis and you will provide your body a great number of benefits, including:
- Improved detoxification due to glucobrassicin, gluconasturtiian, glucoraphanin and phytonutrients.
- Improved digestion, gut health and great amount of fiber.
- Provide essential vitamins and minerals including magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin C and protein.
- Fight inflammation, the frequent cause of many diseases
- Improve eye health as a result of high level of carotenoid lutein and zeaxanthin
- Balance sugar levels by soluble fiber and chromium
- Reduce allergic reactions by the flavonoid kaempferol
- Repairs the skin damage
- Prevent thickening of the arteries and prevent heart diseases.