We all know that vegetabes are extremely beneficial for our health, but some of them have even greater potential to help us prevent diseases. For instance, broccoli is one of them and the consumption of it on a regular basis may reduce your risk for many common diseases, including but not limited to:
High blood pressure and heart disease
Broccoli Contains Many Health Boosting Compounds
The consumption of broccoli will provide you with hundreds of super nutrients that help you support your overall health. Here are some of them:
Fiber, helps strengthen your immune function and nourish your gut microbiome.
Sulforaphane, organic sulfur compound that occurs naturally and has potent anti-cancer activity.
According to many studies, sulforaphane has the ability to cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in breast, tobacco-induced lung cancer, prostate and colon cancer cells. You can reduce your risk of prostate cancer by more than 60% if you consume three servings of broccoli per week.
Moreover, sulforaphane can protect your blood vessels and reduce the number of molecues that cause cell damage also known as reactive oxygen species by 73% since it encourages the production of enzymes. It should also be mentioned that sulforaphane is both an immune stimulant and anti-inflammatory.
In addition, sulforaphane has the ability to protect your muscles agains exercise-induced damage, help detox carcinogens, raise testosterone levels, blocks certain enzymes linked to joint destruction and inhibit the retention of body fat.
Glucoraphanin, it is in fact a glucosinolate precursor of sulforaphane which also has the ability to influence the process of carcinogenesis and mutagenesis. Broccoli sprouts can contain up to 20 times more glucoraphanin when compared to mature broccoli.
Phenolic compounds, such as phenolic acids and flavonoids that can help you eliminate damaging free radicals and quell inflammation which results in a lower risk for certain health conditions like a heart disease, type 2 diabeted and asthma.
Diindolylmethane (DIM). Once your organism breaks down cruciferous veggies, it produces DIM. DIM is yet another broccoli compund that has numerous potential benefits such as helping to prevent or treat cancer and boosting your immune system.
Broccoli Reduces Risk of Fatty Liver and Liver Cancer
Even 25% of Americans, including children are affected by NAFLD – non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which is defined as an excessive accumulation of fats in the liver in the absence of significant alcohol consumption.
If left untreated, it can raise your risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). In order to prevent it, you should stop incorporating net carbs, especially fructose from soda and juices.
All the fructose you consume gets shuttled to your liver so if you consume high amounts of it, it will damge your liver as if you were drinking alcohol.
As noted in one 2015 study: “Ingested carbohydrates are … more likely to directly contribute to NAFLD than dietary fat intake.”
According to the study, the pro-inflammatory and fat-forming effects of fructose occur due to transient ATP (the chemical storage form of energy) depletion, which as a result leads to uric acid formation and in excessively high levels acts as a pro-oxidant inside your cells.
One study conducted on animals earlier this year discovered that the consumption of broccoli for a longer period of time may reduce your chances of developing fatty liver and liver cancer which is usually caused by the standard American diet.
The Superior Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli sprouts are the best solution for you if you don’t like the taste or smell of mature broccoli. In fact, they are more abundant in nutrients than borccoli, which is why you don’t have to eat nearly as much to reap the benefits from essential therapeutic compounds contained in it like sulforaphane.
The researchers at Johns hopkins university noted:
“Three-day-old broccoli sprouts consistently contain 20 to 50 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli heads, and may offer a simple, dietary means of chemically reducing cancer risk.”
The best part aboud sprouts is that you don’t have to cook them, instead, they are best eaten raw, usually as an addition to salad. You can also grow broccoli sprouts at home.
Lightly Steam Your Broccoli to Boost Sulforaphane Content
Since you only get aboud 12% of the total sulforaphane content from eating raw broccoli, you can increase this amount and maximize the cancer fighting power of broccoli just by preparing it properly. According to Jeffery, Ph.D., a researcher and professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois, it would be ideal to steam your broccoli for three to four minutes only. Make sure not to steam it for more than 5 minutes. Prepared in this way it will optimize the sulforaphane content by eliminating epithiospecifier protein which is a heat-sensitive sulfur-grabbing protein that inactivates sulforaphane — while still retaining the enzyme myrosinase, which converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane. You won’t get any sulforaphane without it.
It is not recommended to boil or microwave broccoli past the one-minute mark since it will destroy a majority of the myrosinase.
Adding Mustard Seed Can Maximize Sulforaphane Content Even Further
Make sure to add a myrosinase containing food to the sulforaphane content in order to optimize its benefits. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reported:
“[P]articipants ate a broccoli supplement with no active myrosinase. When some participants ate a second food with myrosinase, their blood and urine levels of sulforaphane were significantly higher than those who did not eat the food.”
Foods containing this important enzyme include:
According to a study conducted in 2013, mustard seed can boost sulforaphane formation even in boiled broccoli because it contains a particularly resilient form of myrosinase. The authors of the study noted:
“Boiling broccoli in water prevented the formation of any significant levels of sulforaphane due to inactivated myrosinase. However, addition of powdered mustard seeds to the heat processed broccoli significantly increased the formation of sulforaphane.”
Never boil frozen broccoli since it is already been blanched as part of the processing and boiling or microwaving it further can only lead to it being more or less devoid of sulforaphane. In order to prevent that, always add a food containing myrosinase when you use frozen broccoli.