BEST IDEA THIS MONTH:
YOUR PARENTS WERE RIGHT ON THIS ONE – THE BROCCOLI YOU PUSHED TO THE SIDE OF YOUR PLATE AS A CHILD REALLY IS GOOD FOR YOU.
Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale, and is full of nutrients that boost the immune system and help to heal the body. If your goal is optimal health, you would be sabotaging your efforts if broccoli didn’t feature on your dinner plate a few times a week.
The top 6 benefits of broccoli:
1 CANCER PREVENTION The jury’s still out but there has been a lot of research into the role broccoli can play in the prevention of various forms of cancer. There have been promising studies in rats and mice and mixed results in humans that warrant further research.
One of the study areas focuses on the isothiocyanates in broccoli as, under certain circumstances, phenethyl isothiocyanate and sulphoraphane are able to inhibit enzymes that cause cancer and tumours to develop.
Broccoli also contains indole-3-carbinol, which has been getting a lot of research attention for its potential ability to alter oestrogen metabolism, a factor in female-reproductive cancers. Specific studies have found that it curbs the development of human breast-cancer cells and reduces abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix.
Furthermore, broccoli contains a good amount of folate. Inadequate consumption of folate increases the risk of a variety of cancers, including breast, ovarian, cervical, lung, brain and prostate.
2 BOOSTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM Broccoli is very high in vitamin C, an essential nutrient that has antioxidant properties and is very important in the process of wound healing. Its ability to reduce the length of a cold, as well as its severity, is well known.
3 ENCOURAGES GOOD SKIN AND STRONG BONES Vitamin C helps to fight damage to the skin that’s caused by the sun and pollution and it plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the protein that gives our skin strength and elasticity. Broccoli also contains small amounts of vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc, which are all important for healthy skin.
If you want to avoid osteoporosis as you get older, eating broccoli on a regular basis will ensure a good supply of vitamin K, as well as some calcium. Both are very important for bone health.
4 HAS NEUROPROTECTIVE PROPERTIES Researchers in Italy have described sulphoraphane as ‘a promising compound with neuroprotective properties that may play an important role in preventing neurodegeneration’.
Sulphoraphane can activate a process that protects against oxidative stress, which is a factor in traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s diesease and Parkinson’s disease.
5 FACILITATES WEIGHT LOSS Unlike some vegetables, broccoli is low in carbs so it’s an excellent choice if you are trying to lose weight. Another bonus is that broccoli’s high water content fills you up, thereby preventing overeating, while its soluble fibre will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
6 PROMOTES GOOD VISION The nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in broccoli and other leafy green vegetables, are important for eye health. They protect against the sun’s ultraviolet rays and various studies have shown that they help to slow macular degeneration and can reduce a person’s likelihood of developing cataracts.