This combo broccoli has everything a broccoli-lover could want, from its healthy green nutrients to its mildly sweet flavor. The usage of broccoli has tripled over the past 25 years. Its popularity is due to its aesthetic appeal, delightful taste, versatile-culinary applications, and the fact that it is packed full of nutrition primarily sulforaphane.
If you know me than you have heard me mention my bestie Sulforaphane (4-methylsulfinybutyl isothiocyanate) which is a dietary isothiocyanate synthesized from a precursor found in cruciferous vegetables of the genus Brassica. Once inside the body, sulforaphane is the most potent naturally occurring activator of the NRF 2 pathway, which is the body’s strongest defense against oxidative stress and aging.
What does sulforaphane do?
It neutralizes toxins. Phytochemicals like sulforaphane are antioxidants that cancel out free radicals. Free radical are tiny particles that weaken and damage healthy cells. They form in your body because of pollution, UV rays, food additives and preservatives, and even through natural processes like digestion.
It reduces inflammation. Because sulforaphane neutralizes toxins, it also calms inflammation in your body. Inflammation has been linked to several kinds of cancer.
It may protect your DNA. Some studies have shown that sulforaphane blocks mutations in DNA that lead to cancer.
It may slow tumor growth. Sulforaphane has been shown to reduce the ability of cancerous cells to multiply. That means it may slow tumor growth or reduce its ability to spread to other parts of your body.
It is readily available. You don’t have to do anything complicated to access the sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables. All you have to do is steam the veggies or eat them raw. Roasting them also retains most of the nutrients.
Eat sulforaphane in plant form
The best way to access this nutrient is to eat it in its plant form, along with a variety of other vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
That’s because there are many other nutrients in plant foods and it’s likely they all work together to provide the most benefit.
“We aren’t sure if it’s one phytochemical that’s working against cancer or if it’s a combination of all of them,” says MD Anderson Research Dietitian Erma Levy. “Many different phytochemicals have been shown to have anti-cancer properties and no one fruit or vegetable will provide everything your body needs.”
This means supplements are out because they isolate nutrients and remove many of the benefits of plants.
Also out are broccoli-only diets. To ensure you get all the benefits, always focus on eating a variety of different colored plant foods.