The development of science once more suggests that the best medicine can be found in the diet, and the most knowledgeable doctor is the Nature. In this case, broccoli, or even more potent, broccoli sprouts, have been proved to possess the capacity to prevent numerous health issues.
This vegetable has been repeatedly shown to be one of nature’s most valuable health-promoting foods. Broccoli sprouts are more than beneficial in cases of:
Broccoli Kills Cancer
Many researchers suggest that eliminating cancer stem cells may be key to controlling cancer. Sulforaphane, a sulfur compound, has been shown to kill these cancer stem cells, thereby, it has the potential to slow down the growth of cancer.
This is a thing that cannot be done by chemotherapies, but it can be done through our diet! The cancer- fighting power of broccoli has been proved on various occasions, ever since studies in the mid-1990s showed that the broccoli compound glucoraphanin, which is a precursor to sulforaphane, boosts cell enzymes that protect against molecular damage from cancer-causing chemicals. (9, 10 )
Moreover, studies have also found that sulforaphane normalizes DNA methylation.(11) This is a process by which a methyl group is added to part of a DNA molecule.
The methyl groups consists of one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms. DNA methylation is crucial in regulating gene expression, and is also an extremely important a part of normal cell function, allowing cells to “remember who they are and where they have been”.
This DNA process also suppresses the genes for things we want to avoid, such as viral and other disease-related genes. On the other hand, abnormal DNA methylation plays a critical role in the development of nearly all types of cancer.
The sulforaphane found in broccoli activates more than 200 different genes. To be more concrete, broccoli possesses the needed ingredients to activate genes that prevent cancer development, and deactivate the opposite ones, the genes that help the cancer to spread. What is even better, you do not need large amounts of broccoli to use its benefits and feel ots effects.
Actually, PLoS One (12) found published a study in 2008 which studied the effects of broccoli. The researchers collected tissue samples over the course of the study and found that the men who ate broccoli showed hundreds of beneficial changes in genes known to play a role in fighting cancer.
In addition, their findings showed that four servings of broccoli per week are enough to protect from prostate cancer. One serving of broccoli is about two spears, which means that the enough quantity is only 10 broccoli spears per week.
Various Cancers Can Be Cured With The Use Of Sulforaphane
One rather disturbing aspect of chemo- protection strategies is that they are rarely organ-specific. In particular, chemo- protection produces a general cancer protective effect which blocks multiple steps that are common to cancer formation. This is probably a reason why broccoli appears to work against a variety of different types of cancers.
There have been numerous studies on the sulforaphane’s effect on breast cancer, and it has been discovered that it hinders the growth of human breast cancer cells as well, at least in the laboratory. Moreover, it was also proved that it acts by disrupting the action of protein microtubules within the cancer cells, which promote cell division and growth.
What makes broccoli even more suitable for this matter is the fact that certain cancer drugs also work in this manner, but, of course, its use does not bring any of the side effects associated with synthetic drugs.
Furthermore, PreventDisease.com (13) also reports that:
“Previous research has also proven that the compound blocks the formation of breast tumors in rats, and it can even force colon cancer cells to commit cell suicide. It seems that sulforaphane works its magic on the detoxification enzymes that try to defend the cancer-promoting substances.”
Sprouts Have Even Bigger Power
As we previously mentioned, about 10 broccoli spears per week has been shown to offer protection against prostate cancer. Nevertheless, fresh broccoli sprouts have been shown to be far more capable and powerful, allowing you to eat far less in terms of quantity, which is excellent for those who do not like the taste or smell of broccoli.
In terms of research, (14) even small quantities of broccoli sprout extracts have been shown to markedly reduce the size of rat mammary tumors that were induced by chemical carcinogens.
“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.”- according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. (15)
Another good thing related to broccoli sprouts is that you can grow them at home quite easily and with low costs. Moreover, it is an advantage that they do not need to be cooked. They are eaten raw, usually as an addition to salad.
When compared to either broccoli or cauliflower, which also contains sulforaphane, (16) three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain anywhere from 10 to 100 times higher levels of glucoraphanin, compared to the mature varieties.
If you prefer mature broccoli heads, always opt for a variety of high potency, since the chemo- protective abilities of samples from 22 varieties of fresh and seven brands of frozen mature broccoli varied greatly, as tests showed. Fresh broccoli sprouts, on the other hand, are far more uniform in their potency. (17)
Furthermore, an extract of broccoli sprouts was discovered to be capable to protect your skin from sun damage, which could potentially lead to skin cancer.
Actually, Dr. Paul Talalay, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore investigated this issue and claims that:
“Cells contain an elaborate network of protective genes that code for proteins that protect against four principal injurious processes to which all of our cells are exposed and which are the causes of cancer, degenerative disease and aging. Those four processes are: oxidation; DNA damage; inflammation and radiation, namely ultraviolet radiation. The cells’ protective system normally operates at about one-third capacity, so the real question is what would ramp up that system.
The highest doses of sulforaphane extract reduced UV-induced redness and inflammation (erythema) by an average of 37 percent, although protection varied from 8 percent to 78 percent. If you apply an extract of broccoli sprouts that contains high levels of sulforaphane to regions of human skin, you can protect them very substantially.”
Grow Your Own Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli sprouts are easily grown at home, even if you have limited space. What is extremely important is to always pick organic seeds, and a pound of seeds will probably make over 10 pounds of sprouts. When you try, you will discovered that it is very easy to grow a continual supply of broccoli sprouts, and the benefit of your homemade- grown broccoli is more than evident.
- 1 American Journal of Hypertension February 2012 2012 Feb;25(2):229-35
- 2 Preventdisease.com August 29, 2013
- 3 See ref 2
- 4 BBC News August 28, 2013
- 5 CNN Health August 29, 2013
- 6 See ref 4
- 7 Arthritis & Rheumatism 2013 Aug 27 [Epub ahead of print]
- 8 See ref 2
- 9 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences October 14, 1997 vol. 94 no. 21 11149-11151
- 10 Johns Hopkins University September 15, 1997
- 11 Nature 2008
- 12 PLoS One 2008 Jul 2;3(7):e2568
- 13 See ref 2
- 14 Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 September 16; 94(19): 10367–10372
- 15 See ref 10
- 16 See ref 14
- 17 Horticultural Science 40(l):50-53. 2005 (PDF)
- 18 See ref 2