Are you, like many others, looking for the most nutritious food out there, for cancer prevention and longevity. There are hundreds of new “superfoods” hitting the market every day, promising miracles. But what if I told you that the best food is just in front of your eyes!
Open your refrigerator and look closely. What is that green tree looking plant? Yes, it’s broccoli. One of the most nutritious foods out there.
According to the science, eating broccoli regularly may be a great tool for cancer prevention, avoid DNA damage and assist your liver in detoxifying your body. It may also improve your digestive health and maximize nutrient metabolism.
Broccoli is also known for its ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, boost the immune system and improve vision.
But wait, there’s more. The whole cruciferous family has superpowers! Cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, arugula, kale, collard greens, and radishes are all part of the same family as broccoli. They all offer amazing health benefits. But today, let’s look at broccoli.
Broccoli health benefits
Broccoli belongs to the “Italica Cultivar” group of the “Brassicaceae” family. It is a custom-bred vegetable from the wild cabbage “Brassica Oleracea”, also the father of the cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts and cabbage.
The name broccoli comes from the Italian word “broccolo”, which means “the flowering crest of a cabbage”. What we eat is in fact the flower of the plant. If you don’t eat it and let it grow, the broccoli’s head actually turns into beautiful yellow flowers.
There are three popular varieties found around the world. The one we are used to in America is the Calabrese broccoli, which we simply call Broccoli. In Europe, it is easy to find two other varieties, the sprouting broccoli and the purple cauliflower.
Broccoli is an excellent source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and Folate (Vitamin B9). It also provides essential minerals such as iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and potassium.
Many scientists have found that consuming broccoli and broccoli sprouts is protective against cancer. It’s the sulforaphane compound found in the vegetable that offers cancer prevention properties and that has been studied for years.
It is suggested that sulforaphane is able to target cancer stem cells in certain types of cancer, assisting the recovery.
What is sulforaphane?
Sulforaphane is an anti-cancer compound that is only present in raw cruciferous vegetables. Well, it is NOT actually present, it is rather formed when you bite into it.
The sulforaphane formation happens when the sulforaphane precursor glucoraphanin is mixed with an enzyme called myrosinase. When you chew raw broccoli, the two are mixed and the magic can happen.
Don’t like eating raw broccoli?
Unfortunately, cooking broccoli inactivates the formation of sulforaphane…. unless you chop it first and wait 40 minutes to cook it. That’s the amount of time needed for the formation of sulforaphane. Weird? I know!!
But what about frozen broccoli? Does it work too? No, it doesn’t. Commercially frozen broccoli has been blanched before it was frozen.
But there’s something else you can do if you want to get all the cancer prevention benefits from eating broccoli. Watch this video to know which ingredient you could sprinkle on your frozen broccoli to encourage the formation of sulforaphane.
Thanks to its high fibre content, broccoli is efficient at lowering cholesterol levels. – High LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) level is strongly correlated to the development of heart disease – Fibre has the ability to bind to cholesterol in the blood, making it easier to be eliminated from the body.
Broccoli may also help promoting heart health by strengthening your blood vessels. Again, it’s the Sulforaphane contained in the vegetable that is responsible for these superpowers.
Sulforaphane may also be able to prevent and even reverse any damage that was done to your blood vessels.
Eating lots of broccoli can dramatically increase the action of detox enzymes in the liver. Broccoli sprouts make an even more potent detox juice.
It’s the enzymes found in young broccoli sprouts that are in the cause. The ability of the 3-day old broccoli sprouts to protect the body against carcinogens may be 10 to 100 times more powerful than a mature broccoli.
Another great benefit of eating fibre rich food is to promote healthy digestion. Fibre helps you to maintain a balanced gut flora, keeping your healthy bacteria happy.
Fibre is also an important element in the formation of stools and keeping bowel movements regular. Healthy people should have 1 to 3 bowel movements per day.
Additionally, broccoli contains kaempferol, a phytonutrient that is able to decrease the impact of allergens in the digestive tract and lower the risk of chronic inflammation.
Broccoli is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, 2 carotenoids that are known for their vision strengthening properties. They protect against cataracts and macular degeneration, 2 conditions that affect your vision.
How much broccoli should you eat?
To get all the health benefits mentioned above, you should eat at least 1 serving of broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables per day.
(1 serving = 1/2 cup chopped broccoli)
The best cooking method is steaming, because it prevents the loss of vitamins and minerals. Here are 10 yummy & healthy broccoli and cruciferous recipes for you! Click on the pictures to get the recipes.
Vegan Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Roasted Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
Garlicky Cruciferous Pasta
Garlic Roasted Broccoli
Broccoli Salad with Raisins
Creamy Broccoli White Bean Soup
Asian Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce
Sheet Pan Crispy Teriyaki Tofu and Broccoli
Visit our pre-cleanse menu for more plant-based recipes.