How to Maximize Broccoli’s Cancer-Fighting Potential

Broccoli has been widely studied for its many health effects, and research shows that it may reduce risk for many common diseases like arthritis, cancer, and more.

By Dr. Mercola

Vegetables offer a wide range of health benefits, but some seem to have greater potential to ward off disease than others. Broccoli falls into this category, having been widely studied for its many health effects.

Research shows this cruciferous veggie (in the same family as Brussels sprouts, cabbagecauliflower and more) may reduce your risk for many common diseases, including but not limited to:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure and heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes

Broccoli Contains Many Health Boosting Compounds

When you eat broccoli, you’re getting dozens, maybe even hundreds, of super-nutrients that support optimal, body-wide health. This includes but is not limited to:

• Fiber, which helps nourish your gut microbiome and strengthen your immune function.

• Sulforaphane, a naturally occurring organic sulfur compound shown to have potent anti-cancer activity.

Studies have shown sulforaphane causes apoptosis (programmed cell death) in colon,1 prostate,2 breast3 and tobacco-induced lung cancer4 cells. Three servings of broccoli per week may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by more than 60 percent.5

Sulforaphane encourages production of enzymes that protect your blood vessels, and reduces the number of molecules that cause cell damage — known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) — by as much as 73 percent.6

Interestingly, sulforaphane is both an immune stimulant and an anti-inflammatory.7

Sulforaphane also helps raise testosterone levels, inhibits the retention of body fat, helps detox carcinogens,8 blocks certain enzymes linked to joint destruction9 and helps protect your muscles against exercise-induced damage.10

Please note that frozen broccoli has diminished ability to produce sulforaphane as the enzyme myrosinase,11 which converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane, is quickly destroyed during the blanching process.12

• Glucoraphanin, a glucosinolate precursor of sulforaphane that also influences the process of carcinogenesis and mutagenesis.13,14 Compared to mature broccoli, broccoli sprouts can contain up to 20 times more glucoraphanin.

• Phenolic compounds, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, which have a potent ability to eliminate damaging free radicals and quell inflammation,15,16,17resulting in a lower risk for diseases such as asthma, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.18

One of the ways phenolic compounds slow the encroachment of disease is by defending against infection, most dramatically by zapping ROS linked to atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

• Diindolylmethane (DIM). Your body produces DIM when it breaks down cruciferous vegetables. Like many other broccoli compounds, DIM has shown multiple potential benefits, including boosting your immune system and helping to prevent or treat cancer.19,20

Finish reading: How to Maximize Broccoli’s Cancer-Fighting Potential






 

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