Saturday, 9 November 2013

Eat your Broccoli

Vegetables have an impressive way of offering widespread benefits to your health, and broccoli is no exception. When you eat broccoli you’re getting dozens, maybe even hundreds, of super-nutrients that support optimal, body-wide health. Man-made substances just can’t compare, and that’s why, if you take just one piece of advice away from your childhood, make it this one: eat your broccoli! Leading Benefits of Broccoli We’ve compiled an extensive review of the health benefits of broccoli on our Broccoli Food Facts page. This cruciferous veggie (in the same family as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and more) is one of the best health-boosting foods around, with research proving its effectiveness for … 1. Arthritis Recent tests on cells, tissues and mice show that a sulfur-rich broccoli compound, sulforaphane, blocks a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage.1 It’s thought that increasing broccoli in your diet may help to slow down and even prevent osteoarthritis. 2. Cancer Sulforaphane in broccoli has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby striking to the root of tumor growth, and the broccoli compound glucoraphanin -- a precursor to sulforaphane – boosts cell enzymes that protect against molecular damage from cancer-causing chemicals.2, 3 Studies have also found that sulforaphane normalizes DNA methylation4 —a process that involves a methyl group (one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms) being added to part of a DNA molecule, and therefore influencing its expression. DNA methylation is a crucial part of normal cell function, allowing cells to "remember who they are and where they have been" and is indispensable for regulating gene expression. DNA methylation also suppresses the genes for things you don’t want, such as viral and other disease-related genes, and abnormal DNA methylation plays a critical role in the development of nearly all types of cancer. One study published in PLoS One,5 for instance, found that just four servings of broccoli per week could protect men from prostate cancer. One serving of broccoli is about two spears, so that's only 10 broccoli spears per week. In this study, the researchers collected tissue samples over the course of the study and found that the men who ate broccoli showed hundreds of beneficial changes in genes known to play a role in fighting cancer. 3. Blood Pressure and Kidney Health Sulforaphane in broccoli may also significantly improve your blood pressure and kidney function, according to yet another study in which hypertensive rats with impaired kidney function were given sulforaphane. The natural compound improved the rats' kidney function and lowered their blood pressure by normalizing DNA methylation patterns within their cells.6 4. Anti-Aging and Immune System Health Sulforaphane also seems to stimulate a variety of antioxidant defense pathways in your body that can directly reduce oxidative stress and slow down the decline in your immune system that happens with age.7 In theory, this means that eating vegetables that contain sulforaphane, such as broccoli, could quite literally slow down the hands of time. 5. Heart Health, Especially for Diabetics Sulforaphane encourages production of enzymes that protect the blood vessels, and reduces the number of molecules that cause cell damage -- known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) -- by up to 73 percent.8 People with diabetes are up to five times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes -- both of which are linked to damaged blood vessels. Eating broccoli may help to reverse some of this damage. Broccoli Benefits Your Eyes, Your Skin and Much More The benefits of broccoli are seemingly endless. It’s also known, for instance, that broccoli: 1. Supports your body’s detoxification, thanks to the phytonutrients glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin. 2. Is anti-inflammatory (inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases). 3. Contains the flavonoid kaempferol, which may fight allergies and inflammation. 4. Contains significant amounts of fiber to facilitate better digestion. 5. Supports eye health, thanks to high levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. 6. Benefits your skin, as sulforaphane helps repair skin damage. 7. Is rich in beneficial nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and vitamin C. 8. May reduce blood sugar levels, as it contains both soluble fiber and chromium. 9. Supports heart health and contains lutein, which may help prevent thickening of your arteries. SOURCE: DR. Mercola