How to Maxamise the Health Benefits of Broccoli & maximize it’s Nutritional Potential.
I appreciate finding new info like this; it is one thing for researchers to say broccoli is good for you! But why is that so? It isn’t under all circumstances only when it is correctly prepared? Recent research indicates that a nutritious diet high in fresh vegetables, organic if possible, with cold pressed fruit oils, fats from grass fed animals, fermented foods, nuts, dairy products and a little unrefined carbohydrate is now considered to be a healthy diet, it totally upends the previous advice.
It is now common knowledge that consuming a broad range of vegetables both raw and lightly cooked provides many of the health benefits and some have a greater potential than others. Broccoli is one of these veggies, having been widely studied for many years for its nutritional benefits new information is emerging.
Researchers have shown that the crucifer family of plants which include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, all the cabbages, all the cauliflowers, the Kale family, the extensive Asian Vegetable family, the Radish family, all the Rockets, Turnips, Swedes, Kohlrabi, Watercress, Horseradish, Wasabi, and mustard have the potential to support good health and as a result reduce the consumers risk of many common diseases and disorders, including diabetes kidney disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and some cancers.
The Many Health Benefits of the Broccoli Family (crucifers).
When broccoli is consumed it gives the consumer a multitude of highly beneficial nutrients that impart optimal health support e.g.
Fiber, which is necessary for the good health of gut microbiome and strengthening of the body’s immune function.
Sulforaphane, a naturally occurring organic sulfur compound shown to have potential anti disease actions.
Studies demonstrate that sulphoraphane causes apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the colon, prostate, breast, and tobacco induced lung cancer cells. Three servings of broccoli a week are said to lower prostate cancer risks by 60%.
Sulforaphane enhances the production of the enzymes that protect blood vessels and reduce the number of molecules that cause cell damage by as much as 73% so said.
Interestingly sulforaphane is both an immune booster and an anti-inflammatory.
Sulforaphane assists in raising testosterone levels, inhibits the retention of body fat; aids the detoxification of carcinogens, blocks some enzymes linked to joint destruction and helps protect muscles against exercise-induced damage.
Please note that the over cooking of broccoli diminishes its ability to produce sulphoraphane as the enzyme myrosinase, which converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane, is quickly destroyed by too much heat.
Glucoraphanin, and glucosinolates are precursor of sulforaphane, which also influences the process of carcinogenesis and mutagenesis. Compared with mature broccoli, broccoli sprouts are said to contain up to 20 times more glucoraphanin.
Phenolic compounds, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, which have a potent to eliminate damaging free radicals and reduce inflammation resulting in lowering the risk of diseases such as asthma, type two diabetes and heart disease.
One of the ways phenolic compounds slow the onset of disease is by defending against infection, most dramatically by zapping ROS (reactive oxygen species) linked to atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Diindolylmethane (DIM). Your body produces DIM when it breaks down cruciferous vegetables. As with many other broccoli compounds, DIM has shown many potential benefits, including boosting your immune system and helping to treat cancer.
Broccoli Reduces the Risk of Fatty Liver and Liver Cancer.
Non-alcoholics fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects up to 25% of society including children, is defined as an excessive accumulation of fats in the liver in the absence of significant alcohol consumption.
The overconsumption of refined carbohydrates, especially fructose in sodas, juices and all sweetened manufactured goods, are strongly associated with non-fatty liver disease which, if left untreated, can raise the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).
The reason for this is because, contrary to other sugars, nearly all of the fructose we consume gets shuttled straight to the liver, and if high levels are consume as in the modern western diet, it over loads and damages the liver in the same way alcohol and other toxic substances do.
As noted in one 2015 study: “Ingested refined carbohydrates are amongst other substances more likely to directly contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver than dietary fat intake.
The fat forming and pro-inflammatory effects of fructose appears to be due to transient ATP (the chemical storage form of energy) depletion, according to the study. This is turn leads to uric acid formation, which at excessively high levels acts as a pro-oxidant inside the cell.
According to an animal study published earlier in 2016, long term consumption of broccoli might reduce the chances of developing fatty liver and liver cancer caused by the standard Western diet by lowering triglyceride levels in the liver.
The Superior Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts.
An excellent alternative if you don’t like the taste or smell of broccoli is to eat broccoli sprouts. The nutritional levels of sprouted broccoli seeds are far more potent than mature broccoli. As a result, you don’t need to eat nearly as much to affect the clinical benefits from key therapeutic compounds like sulforaphane.
Other advantages along with those already mentioned, broccoli sprouts deliver essential fatty acids and fiber, and boost the bioavailability of minerals and proteins from other foods you eat. Another benefit is that you don’t need to cook them, the nutritional values are accessible when added to salads or included in juices and smoothies.
Boost Nutritional Value of Broccoli with Light Steaming.
When raw mature broccoli is eaten the availability of sulforaphane is no more than 12% of the total available based on the parent compounds. You can increase this amount and maximize the disease resisting power of broccoli by preparing it correctly.
It is best to steam broccoli for no more than three to five minutes for maximum nutritional availability of sulforaphane and eliminating epithiospecifier protein a heat sensitive sulfur-grabbing protein that inactivates sulforaphane, which still retains the enzyme myrosinase, which converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane. Without it sulforaphane is no longer available. Boiling or microwaving broccoli for more than one minute destroys the majority of the myrosinase and depletes nutritional value markedly.
Maximising Sulforaphane Content with the Addition of Crucifer Family Foods.
Mustard seed, daikon radish, wasabi, rocket, cold slaw are a few of the veggies that enhance sulforaphane content of our diet. For example adding powdered mustard seed to broccoli increases sulforaphane by the reduction of myrosinase, which inhibits the all-important sulforaphane.
Adding a few broccoli rosettes or some sprouts to your diet three to five times a week has been shown to
- Support detoxification due to the phytonutrients glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian and glucobrassicin resulting in reduced inflammation, the root cause of many chronic diseases and also lowers allergies due to the flavonoid kaempferol.
- Improve digestion and gut health by the ingestion of fiber, supports eye health due to high levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin and repairs of the skin due to sulforaphane content.
- Provides important vitamins and minerals including magnesium, potassium, calcium, protein and vitamin C, which aide reduction of blood sugar levels, as it contains both soluble fiber and chromium and also supports heart health by preventing the thickening of arteries.
And the Rest.
Along with all the above which is only a little part of a healthy life style, recent exercise research suggests that we need to build up to a weekly regime of twenty one hours of exercise as strenuous as we can manage with out torturing your selves.
Other tit bits it is preferable to be sitting as little as possible; move as often as possible and establish a good sleep regimen. Banish screens half an hour before bedtime. Relax in your favourite way. Mental stimulation is important, learning something new when ever possible, any thing to keep your brain creating new neural connections to help ward off mental stagnation and deterioration.
And last but not least - the best advice I have ever been given is ‘if you fall off the horse pick your self up dust your self off and get back on again’ do not condemn yourself its a waste of time and brings down our energy and is probably an echo from the past out of some one else’s mouth, not relevant to the present. My thing is ‘a treat once in a while is a good thing it sates cravings and saves us from becoming fanatical nutters’.