Broccoli – the "Crunchy Cruciferous Contender"

When it comes to basic nutrients, broccoli is a mother lode. In the category of “most healthy vegetable,” this “crunchy cruciferous contender” wins top honors. Ounce for ounce, steamed broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk. But that’s not all. Broccoli is a powerful anti-cancer veggie. Here’s why: According to a January 2011 article in “The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry,” proteins coded by the gene p53 help keep cancer from starting to grow. But when the p53 gene is mutated, the protection is gone. Mutated p53 is implicated in about half of all human cancers.

Broccoli and its relatives are rich in compounds called isothiocyanates (ITCs), which apparently destroy the products of the mutant p53 gene, but leave the healthy p53 proteins alone and free to suppress tumor development. Of the millions of plant chemicals contained in our common foods, ITCs, are currently among the most studied.

They not only block mutant p53 genes, but they also detoxify potential carcinogens such as environmental toxins. Broccoli also contains indole-3-carbinol. This chemical can alter estrogen in a manner so that it potentially reduce the risk of over 10 types of cancer! I would type more about the wonderful benefits of broccoli, but I’m getting hungry… going to steam some broccoli! 😉

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