It turns out your mom was right when she told you to eat your broccoli. A new study conducted at the University of Illinois discovered that adding broccoli into your diet for at least three to four times weekly can reduce a variety of health conditions, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Prostate cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
The Magical Compounds
The research led the way to identifying that the phenolic compounds found in broccoli can aid in preventing the development of the mentioned diseases. Flavonoids are also a type of phenolic compounds that increase the activities in the body that help reduce cancer risk. The compounds act as antioxidants, which rid of harmful toxins in the body. Plus, there are increasing numbers of studies that suggest how the antioxidant activities caused by phenolic compounds can affect the biochemical pathways that are related to inflammation.
Inflammation is a natural response of the body to disease, damage, and other threats. However, chronic inflammation can lead to several degenerative diseases. Chronic inflammation is quite common, but the study, led by Jack Juvik from the university’sDivision of Nutritional Sciences, discovered that people who eat broccoli and other foods rich in phenolic compounds have lesser risk of developing the diseases.
How to Take Advantage of Cancer-Fighting Properties in Broccoli
The phenolic compounds found in broccoli do not affect the state and flavor of the vegetable. This means that you can cook broccoli and you can still have all the health-promoting properties in it. As you eat the vegetable, the phenolic compounds will be absorbed by the body and will travel through the bloodstream, particularly the flavonoids. This process can easily reduce inflammation through the high levels of antioxidant activities.
Another study conducted in the same university, however, claims that the best way to take advantage of broccoli’s anti-cancer properties is to heat the vegetable just enough to remove the protein that rids of the plant’s sulfur. Don’t leave it in heat too long though, so the sulforaphane in broccoli remains. Sulforaphane is an anticarcinogenic that can increase the enzymes in the liver that can destroy chemicals that can cause cancer. These chemicals come from the food you eat or some other elements in the environment.It turns out that steaming broccoli is the best way to cook it.
Other foods that are rich in sulforaphane are cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and kohlrabi among others.