Dr. Mercola: The Superfood Broccoli: Boosting The Cancer Fight.

Broccoli has been long favored as the nutrient rich food so much so that some nutritionists have included it under the Superfood category. Coming from the cauliflower family, this vegetable has many health boosting compounds like sulforaphane and glucoraphanin.

Broccoli is full of fiber which is very beneficial for immunity and strengthening the gut. Sulforaphane is a sulfur compound present in broccoli and has excellent anti cancer properties. Its properties for fighting against cancer can be attributed to its ability to cause apoptosis which is programmed cell death in colon, prostate and breast cancers. It may even help fight against tobacco induced lung cancer cells. Prostate cancer risk may be reduced by 60 percent by having at least three servings of broccoli per week.

Also sulforaphane promotes the production of blood vessel protecting enzymes and reduces the production of free radicals, reactive oxygen species, ROS by almost 73 percent. It also helps in bringing a raise in the levels of testosterone, fights body fat retention and helps the body recover from the damage induced by wear and tear. Care should be taken to eat broccoli without much freezing as the enzyme, myrosinase which helps in conversion of glucoraphanin to sulforaphane gets destroyed during the process of blanching. It is advocated that broccoli sprouts have about 20 percent more glucoraphanin which in turn have great cancer fighting properties. As found by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

"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 sulforaphane content can be further put to advantage by adding a myrosinase containing food to it. It has been reported by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), "Participants 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."

A 2013 study focusing on mustard seed concluded that the seeds which contain a particularly resilient form of myrosinase can advance sulforaphane configuration even in boiled broccoli. The authors have reportedly concluded that, "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."

Broccoli even has phenolic compounds that help battling heart disease, type 2 Diabetes and asthma. It is a boon for liver patients and one must know the tactics of having its best nutrients in a proper way and with a maximizing output.



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Science Daily September 19, 1997

American Institute for Cancer Research November 7, 2013

Cancer Research September 15, 2005; 65(18):8548-57


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