Broccoli: The Amazing Health Benefits
Dr. Kristie Leong
In the world of healthy vegetables, broccoli occupies the special status of being one of the most nutritious vegetables around. Although its flavour has been maligned by many including former President George Bush who reportedly hated the green stuff, it still holds a hallowed place in the world of healthy foods. Just what are the magnificent health benefits of broccoli?
Broccoli is a rich source of a variety of biochemicals that are known to fight cancer. One of the most well known and extensively studied is the isothiocyanates. These powerful chemicals are though to stimulate certain enzymes produced by the liver which act to neutralize the effects of cancer causing agents that enter the body. The result is less damage to DNA which can give rise to tumors. These chemicals are so powerful they have even been shown to slow down the progression of existing cancer cells.
Another important cancer fighting chemical which accounts for the health benefits of broccoli is indole-3-carbinol. This important biochemical has been shown in animals to alter levels of estrogen in such a way as to potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. The power of indole-3-carbinol to prevent and slow down growth of breast cancer cells has been demonstrated in numerous studies. There are ongoing studies taking place to see if this association holds true in humans as well as animals.
Scientists believe there are other important cancer preventative agents in broccoli that have yet to be identified. It’s unclear as to how much broccoli one would need to eat on a daily basis to get the protective properties this vegetable offers. One way to get the protective effects of broccoli without eating it at every meal is to supplement with broccoli sprouts. Broccoli sprouts have been shown to have anywhere from ten to one hundred times the level of isothiocyanates as the vegetable itself. By sprinkling some sprouts on a sandwich or salad, you can get the health benefits of broccoli without consuming high quantities of the vegetable itself.
As if all that cancer fighting potential isn’t enough, broccoli is also a rich source of fibre, Vitamin C, beta carotene, folate, as well as a variety of other important nutrients. All of this for less than fifty calories per serving. Broccoli is a definite winner on the nutritional front.
If you’re ready to harness the health benefits of broccoli, why not consider adding more of this powerful vegetable to your diet today?
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