Safe to say that everyone knows they should eat their broccoli, but reminding you how incredible this tiny green “tree” is for you never hurts. In particular, because the more we learn, the more we find that broccoli just keeps on getting better.
It’s one of the first vegetables that come to mind when I think of cancer preventative and cancer fighting foods. It’s been proven to prevent cellular damage and heal that body and for over 2,000 years broccoli has been boosting the body’s abilities.
When you eat your broccoli (and other vegetables in the Brassica family, like kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and collard greens), flavonoids are absorbed and dispersed in your bloodstream. However, this compound depletes after only a few days, meaning you need to eat broccoli (or another Brassica family member) frequently for the benefits.
Most notable, recent research shows
- Broccoli may lower risk factors for prostate and lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer
- Consuming broccoli can lower risk of several other diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and asthma.
- Broccoli contains phenolic compounds that fight inflammation -the root cause of disease, reduce oxidative stress, and reduce our toxic load.
- Broccoli contains phenolic compounds that defend against infection, in particular killing “reactive oxygen species” that are linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Flavenoids in broccoli cannot be made in the body, they must be ingested through a food source and these flavonoids offer two major benefits:
- Flavonols and anthocyanins contribute to UV protection, pigmentation and disease resistance
- Hydroxycinnamic acids are notable for their significant antioxidant properties
- Broccoli has potential to protect against fatty liver disease – which can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. In particular, this benefits men, as they are 5 times likely to develop liver cancer with a fatty liver diagnosis.
Science is using this information to formulate breeding plans for Brassilica vegetables to maximize phenolic and flavenoid compounds, breeding vegetables that will offer mega-doses of disease preventing nutrients and compounds. While this is still a long way off, it’s a good indicator of how much scientific backed research is available on the benefits of broccoli.
*Broccoli sprouts contain many more phenolic compounds than mature broccoli, germination increases phenolic acid, antioxidants, and flavenoids, making broccoli sprouts (organic) a very viable option.
*Not a fan of broccoli? There is good news, you can achieve very similar benefit from eating sunflower seeds, radish, and watercress.