Boost your Immune System Naturally with Broccoli
Broccoli is one of the best vegetables you can eat to promote good health, and help prevent many often devastating health problems including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis and allergies. And the good news for people who struggle to grow broccoli in their own kitchen gardens (because it does have a tendency to bolt before the heads have formed) is that fresh broccoli sprouts are considerably more potent than the heads.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia have found that including lots of broccoli in your diet can help slow down the progression of arthritis. It’s the compound, sulforaphane that is effective, because it blocks a destructive enzyme that is known to damage cartilage. Sulforaphane is an anti-inflammatory and it is said to be beneficial in fighting cancer. According to these researchers, sulforaphene also has antimicrobial and anti-diabetic qualities.
American scientists from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, doing cancer prevention research in Japan several years ago, found that the sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts act as a potent antibiotic against a certain very harmful bacterium that causes gastritis, ulcers and even stomach cancer. While the study showed that broccoli sprouts won’t destroy the bacteria, they found that eating them every day for two months will control it.
Another study found that just four helpings of broccoli every week can protect men against prostate cancer, while others have found that sulforaphane kills colon cancer and breast cancer cells.
Sulforaphane has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, slowing the growth of tumours. Since there is a growing reservoir of evidence that eliminating cancer stem cells may be a vital key to controlling cancer, this is a particularly important finding.
Broccoli sprouts versus broccoli heads
According to osteopathic physician and alternative medicine guru, Dr. Joseph Mercola, broccoli sprouts contain as much as 20-100 times more chemoprotective compounds than those found in the heads we normally eat. He has been proudly touting the cancer-busting power of broccoli since the mid-1990s when he discovered that glucoraphanin (which was discovered before sulforaphane) boosted cell enzymes and protected against molecular damager from chemicals that caused cancer.
The John Hopkins research study found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts had up to 50 times (and never less than 20 times) the quantity of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli heads. They also found that they contain up to 100 (and not less than 10) times higher levels of glucoraphanin compared to mature heads.
“The interesting aspect of chemoprotection strategies is that they’re almost never organ-specific,” says Dr. Mercola. Instead they block the multiple steps that are common to any form of cancer formation. This, he believes is probably a major reason why broccoli appears to work so potently against different types of cancers, and other diseases.