Consuming broccoli has been linked to a reduced risk of an array of degenerative diseases. Because it is so healthful, researchers at the University of Illinois are trying to develop a new line of the vegetable that would contain a larger amount of its most prized components — phenolic compounds like flavonoids and phenolic acid.
Two broccoli lines were crossbred, and the hybrid’s phenolic content and antioxidant activity were measured. This led to the identification of the genes involved in accumulating the phenols, a discovery that puts it one step closer to developing the super-broccoli. The authors of the study intend to do similar work with related cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale.
Eating Broccoli Just Once Every Three Days Can Help Protect Against Disease
Phenolic compounds are stable, a term that means they aren’t lost in the cooking process. Once they are consumed, they are absorbed by the body and either distributed to certain areas or concentrated in the liver. The flavonoids circulate throughout the blood stream and decrease inflammation through their antioxidant properties, which involve capturing free radicals before they cause serious harm to the cells.
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“These are things we can’t make ourselves, so we have to get them from our diets,” said study geneticist Jack Juvik. “The compounds don’t stick around forever, so we need to eat broccoli or some other Brassica vegetable every three or four days to lower the risk of cancers and other degenerative diseases.” This research was published in the journal Molecular Breeding.
Benefits of Other Broccoli Nutrients
In addition to phenolic compounds, broccoli contains other nutrients associated with many health benefits. It is rich in sulforaphane, which studies show can help fight cancer, heart disease and arthritis as well as improve blood pressure, kidney function and immunity. Broccoli also has ample carotenoids that support eye health and fiber that enhances digestion, along with compounds like glucoraphanin that boost the body’s detoxification.
The Best Way to Get Broccoli’s Positive Health Effects
According to researchers at John Hopkins University, fresh broccoli sprouts are far more nutritionally potent than mature broccoli. “Three-day-old broccoli sprouts consistently contain 20 to 50 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli heads, and may offer a simple, dietary means of chemically reducing cancer risk,” they said.
The sprouts can be tossed into a salad and are a convenient method of getting all the nutrients broccoli contains. They are also an option for those who dislike the taste or smell of the vegetable.
Noted natural health practitioner Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends growing broccoli sprouts at home. He feels the method of planting organic seeds in soil is easier than growing them in Ball jars. Alternatively, they can also be purchased ready-to-eat from supermarkets.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.