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In the spring of 2010, I headed off to a conference required for my certifications. It is expected that they will talk about food and nutrients for the duration of the conference, but this year one food took over the presentations and programs…. Broccoli is today’s most talked about super food.
Now it seems your mom was right when she told you to eat your broccoli because it was good for you. The whole Brassica family contains key ingredients for fighting cancer, how these ingredients works is still a mystery in large part to researchers. What they have learned is there are over 2000 different nutrients and co-factors in any one food, 200 of those they can identify. All of these health agents interact with human genes, turning on and of gene response and expression.
“Almost all aspects of life are engineered at the molecular level, and without understanding molecules we can only have a very sketchy understanding of life itself.” Francis Crick, PhD (1916-2004) Co-discoverer of DNA double helix
“…an increasing body of evidence has demonstrated that individual compounds–as well as complex mixtures of chemicals–derived from food alter the expression of genes in the human body” “Studies based on ethno pharmacology and phytotherapy concepts showed that nutrients and botanicals can interact with the genome causing marked changes in gene expression.” “Phenolics, inflammation and nutrigenomics” J Sci Food Agric, 2006, Vol 86(15): 2503-1509
Broccoli is a type of green cruciferous vegetable, and is a member of the italic cultivar group, there are two main types of broccoli, heading and sprouting. This green food has been around for over 2000 years and was first seen in Turkey. The Italian immigrants of the early nineteenth century carried broccoli to North America. It took another century for broccoli to become popular outside the Italian communities and develop into a commercial crop. Ninety percent of the broccoli grown in the United States comes from California’s Salinas Valley, the winter months Arizona, Texas, Florida and Washington take over production.
So why should I eat Broccoli?
Broccoli contains vitamin B1,B2, A, C, E and K, folic acid, calcium, chromium, indoles, isothiocynates (heavy duty cancer fighters), and sulforaphane glucosinolate. The best means of obtaining the health benefits of broccoli is to consume fresh broccoli in the diet. A handful of three day old sprouts contain 50 times the sulforaphane glucosinolate as 114 pounds of regular broccoli. For those utilizing broccoli as a cancer protective food, I’d go with broccoli sprouts in my juice or salads every day. Bladder cancer is the 7th most common cancer worldwide, accounting for 3.2% of all cancers. There were an estimated 260,000 new cases in 2000 in men and 76,000 in women (Ferlay et al., 2001).
Breast, bladder, stomach, colon and prostate cancer
Prevention of ophthalmic disorders (AMDR)
Prevention of cardiovascular disease
Lowers LDL cholesterol
Lowers blood pressure
Help prevent headaches and cramps
Repairs damaged gastrointestinal mucosa
Heavy metals (arsenic)
Endogenous estrogens & Xenoestrogens
Kills Helicobacter pylori
Herpes outbreaks (due to the indol-3-carbonal)
Remember to buy from a reputable local farm, farm market or organic from your produce section at your favorite grocery store. The best way to cook broccoli is to slightly steam, this increases broccolis cancer fighting properties – tender but still crisp and bright green in color. You can also stir fry or wrap in foil with other vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic add a pinch of thyme, basil and oregano – place on your grill to steam in natural juices, and enjoy with your chicken or stake.
How to Produce Broccoli Sprouts from Broccoli Seeds
Place up to one cup of broccoli seeds into a clear glass jar and cover with water.
Alternatively, place broccoli seeds into a moist linen or muslin bag. Rinse or spray the broccoli seeds two to four times per day. Once rootlets and two leaves have formed, the seeds have become broccoli sprouts.
To your Good Health and Summer Foods.
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