Yeah, broccoli is one of the superfoods that should be consumed by us on a daily basis, but only if we can afford to buy it. Other vegetables of the cabbage also contain the bioactive substances that are present in broccoli. Here are the reasons, why we should eat broccoli and other vegetables of the cabbage family.
Broccoli is one of the superfoods each of us should incorporate into his/her own diet on a daily basis. The bioactive substances in this vegetable protects not only from arthritis, but also from other chronic non-communicable diseases.
For example, sulforaphane in broccoli has been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby striking to the root of tumor growth, and the broccoli compound glucoraphanin, which is a precursor to sulforaphane boosts cell enzymes that protect against molecular damage from cancer-causing chemicals.
Scientific studies have also found that sulforaphane normalizes DNA methylation, which is a process that stabilizes DNA molecule. DNA methylation is a crucial part of normal cell function, allowing cells to “remember who they are and where they have been” and is indispensable for regulating gene expression. DNA methylation also suppresses the genes for things you don’t want, such as viral and other disease-related genes, and abnormal DNA methylation plays a critical role in the development of nearly all types of cancer.
Sulforaphane in broccoli may also play a significant role in the regulation of blood pressure and kidney function. An experiment carried out in laboratory animals showed that Sulforaphane improved the animals’ kidney function and lowered their blood pressure by normalizing DNA methylation patterns within their cells.
Sulforaphane also seems to stimulate a variety of antioxidant defense pathways in our body that can directly reduce oxidative stress and slow down the decline in our immune system that occurs with age. In theory, this means that eating vegetables that contain sulforaphane, such as broccoli, could quite literally slow down the hands of time.
Sulforaphane increases the production of enzymes that protect the blood vessels, and reduces the number of molecules that cause cell damage (free radicals). People with diabetes are up to five times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, conditions both of which are linked to damaged blood vessels. Eating broccoli may help to reverse some of this damage.
These are the thoughts of:
Sa’eed Halilu Bawa
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad.
Studied Food and Nutrition Sciences, Dietetics at Kaduna Polytechnic, Nigeria; Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland.