Broccoli Takes a Bat at Breast Cancer
What is Broccoli?
Broccoli is part of the cruciferous (cabbage) family of vegetables. The most common type you see in the UK and the United States is the Calabrese, or Italian green.
When speaking about broccoli, we include broccolini, which is a mix of broccoli and kale; the broccoflower, which is a mix of broccoli and cauliflower, and broccoli sprouts when we talk about the benefits below. Full of complex tastes and textures, it can vary in colour from purple to green.
Under the Spotlight
- Low in calories
- Rich in vitamin A, C, K, folic acid and fibre
- Higher in protein than a cup of corn or rice, but with fewer calories
- Also a source of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and vitamins B6 and E
- Good source of glucosinolates (indole-3-carbinol & sulphurophane) and the carotenoid lutein
Benefits to Your Health
Phytochemicals have been shown to increase your body’s ability to excrete the forms of oestrogen that are linked to breast cancer.
Sulphorophane has been shown to reduce the frequency, number and size of tumours in rat studies. In human studies, they stimulate enzyme-production and have an antioxidant effect.
It has also been found to fight Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). H. pylori increases the risk of gastritis, gastric cancer, swelling of the oesophagus and acid indigestion.
*Sulphorophane is found in much higher amounts in broccoli sprouts than in fully grown broccoli.
Indole-3-carbinol was found to stop the growth of cancer cells in breast and prostate studies. It also increases the amount of toxic compounds the liver is able to detoxify. That’s exciting news!
- Eat a four fist-sized servings of broccoli (about 1kg) or 30g of sprouts per week (don’t forget that sprouts contain more sulphurophane)
- Steam your vegetables, rather than boil, to maximise the nutrients you take in
- You can eat broccoli raw or cooked
- Include all parts of the plant (leaves, florets and stalks)
- Find different ways to include this vegetable in your diet and share with us in the comments below!
Check out last week’s Veggie of the Week.