(OrganicJar) In the world of healthy vegetables, broccoli occupies the special status of being one of the most nutritious vegetables around. Although its flavor 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 fiber, 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?
Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli and other leafy green vegetables contain powerful phytochemical antioxidants in the carotenoid family called lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are concentrated in large quantities in the lens of the eye.
Improved Immune System
Not only does a cup of broccoli contain the RDA for vitamin C, it also fortifies your immune system with a hefty 1359 mcg of beta-carotene, and small but useful amounts of zinc and selenium, two trace minerals that act as cofactors in numerous immune defensive actions.
Deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy has been linked to several birth defects, such as spina bifido. Despite folic acid's wide occurence in food (it's name comes from the Latin word folium, meaning "foliage," because it's found in green leafy vegetables), amazing and little known fact time... folic acid deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world.
Birth Defect Fighter
Pregnant? You really must eat broccoli. 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.
Helps to get relief from cold symptoms, since it contains Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Studies have shown that broccoli contains more calcium than most dairy products therefore helping to build bone mass. Great news for lactose intolerant people (and there are a lot of us out there) as obtaining sufficient calcium can be difficult for those not consuming dairy products.
Real Men Go Green!
This and other cruciferous veg like sprouts and cabbage reduce your levels of the female hormone oestrogen, thereby increasing your testosterone.
Due to it's high fibre content and low sugar, broccoli helps fight the war on diabetes. The fibre helps keep blood sugar low and as a result insulin can be kept to a minimum.
: Thyroid problems?...beware. Broccoli contains goitrogens, naturally-occurring substances in certain foods that can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Individuals with already existing and untreated thyroid problems may want to avoid broccoli for this reason. As always consult your doctor if unsure.