broccoli head The Health Benefits of Broccoli

Health Benefits of Broccoli

I love broccoli.  Actually, I love the whole cabbage related family family.  Cauliflower is my probably my favorite.  But I love the broccoli benefits even more.  Widely heralded as the “anti-cancer” super-food and nutritional powerhouse- I make sure to include broccoli in my diet every week.

Here are some of the Health Benefits of Broccoli I’ve put together and why eating your broccoli every week should be a “no-brainer”!

Health Benefits of Broccoli

1.) Cancer-Fighter Properties

Broccoli is an excellent source for many biochemicals that are known to fight cancer. One of the most well known and extensively studied is the isothiocyanates. These powerful chemicals are thought to stimulate enzymes 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. In studies, these chemicals  have even been shown to slow down the progression of existing cancer cells!

Another broccoli cancer fighting chemical  is indole-3-carbinol. This powerful biochemical has been shown in studies 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 repeatedly demonstrated. The same goes for reducing prostrate cancer.

Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which helps produces the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body of a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer.

Scientists believe there are other important cancer preventative agents in broccoli that have yet to be identified.

It’s not clear how much broccoli you need to get all the anti-cancer benefits.  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.

2.) Vitamin C
One cup of broccoli contains the RDA of vitamin C, an antioxidant necessary for fighting against free radicals. Besides Vitamin C, broccoli is a rich source of beta carotene, folate, and fiber.

3.) Nervous System
Broccoli contains a high amount of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, as well as promotes regular muscle growth.

4.)Blood Pressure
Along with a high amount of potassium, Broccoli also contains magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure.

5.) Heart Disease
The carotenoid lutein is thought to potentially slow down or prevent the thickening of arteries in the human body, thus fighting against heart disease and stoke. The B6 and folate in broccoli also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.

6.)Bone Health
Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.

7.) Immune System
As little as a cup of broccoli bolsters the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene. Trace minerals, such as zinc and selenium, further act to strengthen immune defense actions.

8.) Vision
Studies have demonstrated that lutein most often assiciated with tomatoes- but generously  found in broccoli too ( helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as possesses anti-cancer effects. Additionally, broccoli is a good source of vitamin A that is needed to form retinal, the light-absorbing molecule that is essential for both low-light and color vision.

9.) Sun Damage
Broccoli contains glucoraphanin which is helpful in repairing skin damage and which helps the skin to detoxify and repair itself.

10.) Weight-Loss  Broccoli is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Furthermore, a cup of broccoli 3 grams of protein per serving and only 50 calories per service.

11.)  Birth Defect Fighter   Pregnant?  A cup of broccoli supplies 94 mcg of folic acid, a B-vitamin essential for proper cellular division because it is necessary in DNA synthesis. Without folic acid, the fetus’ nervous system cells do not divide properly.

Deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy has been linked to several birth defects, such as spina bifida. Despite folic acid’s occurence  folic acid deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world.

I was really to surprised to find out how much protein has.  If you eat the volume of broccoli I do you are getting as much protein 4-5 egg whites or a small piece of lean meat.

Preparation Points:

Steaming broccoli for 3–4 minutes is recommended to maximize potential anti-cancer compounds, such as sulforaphane.  Boiling reduces the levels of suspected anti-carcinogenic compounds in broccoli, with losses of 20 – 30% after five minutes, 40 – 50% after ten minutes, and 77% after thirty minutes.  However, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying had no significant effect on the compounds.

So hope that helps convince you- why you should eat your broccoli!

Here’s to your health and wealth!

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