Health Benefits of Broccoli – Fights Cancer and Lowers Cholesterol
Did you know that at least 30% of all cancers are diet-related? One of the most important things that show up time after time in studies is that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing cancer.
One population study from Harvard University looked at over 47,000 men over a ten-year period. It found that the more vegetables they ate on a regular basis, the less likely they were to develop bladder cancer.
What were the most potent veggies? You guessed it broccoli and its close cousin, the cabbage. Broccoli comes from a whole family of vegetables, called cruciferous (from the Brassica genus in plant classification) that have all shown to be important in preventing and even stopping the spread of many cancers. The cruciferous family includes: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, rapini, bok choy and of course – broccoli.
What makes broccoli so special? It contains a powerful compound called sulforaphane that fights cancer in two ways; it help the body protect itself against free radical damage and increases enzymes that kill abnormal cells. Broccoli also contains indole-3-carbonole, a compound that helps the body block excess estrogen uptake in breast cells, and forms a cancer-preventing form of estrogen. Both of these factors are thought to help prevent breast cancer.
Broccoli also lowers bad cholesterol
Just when you thought broccoli couldn’t get any better, there is more. Broccoli has also been lauded for its ability to lower bad cholesterol. Just how does it do this? Broccoli contains high amounts of the substance lutein. Studies have found that when high amounts of lutein are in the blood, there are lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. This benefit is the greatest when broccoli is lightly steamed as it assists the fiber in the broccoli to bind with bile acids.
How much broccoli do you need?
As little as 1/8 cup of broccoli per day has been shown to have an effect on lowering cancer risk. Another study showed that eating 2 servings of cruciferous vegetables per day could reduce the risk of certain cancers by up to 50%!
The Canadian Food Guide recommends eating 7-10 servings of fruits and veggies per day for adults 19 and above. The USA just released their new food guide “choose my plate” which graphically shows healthy portions, it de-emphasizes grains and shows that fruit and veggies should be filling half of your plate at a meal. While these guides still have their critics (myself included), they are definitely getting closer to showing the public what healthy eating looks like (and it isn’t Mac ‘n’ cheese with hot dogs – remember ketchup does not count as a vegetable).
What does a serving of veggies look like?
- 1 cup of leafy greens (like kale, spinach, romaine lettuce)
- 1 apple, 1 orange
- ½ cup of fresh or frozen fruit (like blueberries, strawberries or grapes)
- ½ cup of broccoli, or other fresh or frozen vegetables
Broccoli the Wonder vegetable!
Broccoli is definitely a superstar of the vegetable world. And there are even more benefits that I haven’t mentioned– like its anti-inflammatory properties, its role in Vitamin D metabolism…the list just goes on and on… One thing is for sure, mom was right (even though she didn’t have the scientific evidence to back it up). So, heed her advice and EAT YOUR BROCCOLI!
Please share your favourite broccoli recipe. Here on this blog, you’ll get commentluv.This is an opportunity to leave a link back to your own blog if you leave a comment.
Until next time,