Cancer Fighting Broccoli
Broccoli is a Cancer-Fighting Super-Food
They say ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. That’s why I eat lots of apples. Because I don’t want any pill pushing doctors anywhere near me. I actually have more respect for street-corner drug pushers because at least their unhealthy products make you feel euphoric for a while. The medicines that western doctors prescribe damage your health with nasty side effects.
But this post is actually about cancer and broccoli so I’ll modify the above quote to suit. ‘Some broccoli per day keeps cancer at bay.’ Broccoli is being touted as a “game changer” so drug companies are hard at work making new pills out of it. But will they be able to patent a natural remedy? I suppose they will if they create a genetically modified broccoli Frankenstein out of it.
You also don’t have to look in an exotic jungle or tropical island for this humble but powerful cancer-fighter plant. It’s available in abundance at your local grocer (preferably organic), and you’ve more than likely already got it in your fridge. Broccoli is the botanical miracle you’ve probably been eating your whole life without realizing how good it was for you.
Broccoli is full of dietary fiber and that’s certainly good, but this lovely green vegetable has much more than just that.
NOTE: Lightly steam broccoli to reap optimum health benefits, or eat it raw.
The health benefits of broccoli are very extensive. Not only is the vegetable loaded with essential nutrients, it also has therapeutic properties.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It explains broccoli’s health benefits and tells you how it should be cooked and why.
Broccoli’s nutritional profile is impressive. It contains high levels of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and is a rich source of vitamin-C.
In fact, just a 100 gram serving of broccoli will provide you with more than 150% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which in large doses can potentially shorten the duration of the common cold.
Broccoli is also rich in vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and phyto-nutrients.
Phytonutrients are compounds which lower the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, according to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service2.
What are the health benefits of broccoli?
Over recent years researchers all over the world have identified a wide range of therapeutic properties associated with broccoli. So, apart from being a nutritional powerhouse, what other health benefits does broccoli provide?
Research reveals that broccoli can:
Prevent osteoarthritis – a British study revealed that broccoli contains a compound called sulfophane which may help fight osteoarthritis – sulforaphane can block cartilage-destroying enzymes by intercepting a molecule that causes inflammation.
Protect your skin against the effects of UV light – broccoli may help prevent skin cancer, not by eating it though, but by applying it directly to the skin. An article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the damaging effects of UV (ultraviolet) radiation can be appreciably reduced with the topical application of a broccoli extract.
Reverse diabetes heart damage – eating broccoli promotes the production of enzymes that help protect heart blood vessels and reduce the molecules that damage them.
Reduce cancer risk – eat broccoli just three times each month and you could potentially reduce the chance of developing bladder cancer by around 40 percent, according to experts at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, USA.
Broccoli plant compound detoxifies air pollutants in the body – research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, suggests new benefits of eating broccoli.
Study participants from one of the most polluted regions in China who consumed half a cup of broccoli sprout beverage were shown to excrete high levels of benzene and acrolein – a known human carcinogen and lung irritant, respectively.
Could a chemical in broccoli, sprouts help treat autism?
A chemical found in broccoli and other vegetables – sulforaphane – has shown promise for improving some behavioral symptoms of autism. This is according to the results of a small clinical trial led by researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.
Antioxidant in broccoli ‘shows promise’ as treatment for progeria
A new study finds that the nuclei of cells in children affected by the extremely rare disease progeria are poor at breaking down and disposing of defective proteins. It also finds that an antioxidant present in broccoli appears to give the protein-clearing system a boost, potentially reducing the effects of the disease.
Eating broccoli linked to less cancer risk – just don’t overcook it.
There is an enzyme in broccoli called myrosinase which can reduce the risk of developing cancer. The enzyme works by changing sulfur-based chemicals found in broccoli (called glucosinolates) into isothiocyanates (other sulfur-containing chemicals), which have anticancer properties.
However, if broccoli is overcooked it can undermine the beneficial effects of this enzyme, according to researchers at the University of Illinois who published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition and Cancer.
Therefore, to really get the most out of this vegetable, you should try to steam broccoli lightly.
You can also eat broccoli raw to gain maximum benefit.