by Ellaine Castillo, Natural News:
Every day, people are exposed to many different toxins from the food that they eat. These harmful substances have to be eliminated from the body, otherwise, they can cause diseases, such as cancer. Although the body already functions to get rid of these toxins, it still needs a little boost to function at its optimum capacity. Fortunately, there are many foods that can help detoxify the body. One of these is broccoli.
There is a mountain of evidence supporting the detoxification properties of broccoli. In one of these studies, it was found that post-menopausal women who ate a lot of barbecued, grilled, and smoked meats, which were rich in carcinogens, had a higher breast cancer risk. However, those who consumed greater amounts of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli had a relatively lower risk. They attributed this effect to the ability of broccoli to enhance the activity of detoxifying enzymes in the liver.
The detoxification benefits of broccoli go beyond carcinogens in food. They also extend to environmental toxins, such as air pollutants. This is very important since according to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in eight deaths worldwide are due to air pollution. Exposure to pollutants in the air can lead to impaired lung function and increased risk of heart attack, asthma, as well as other types of lung and heart disease.
A study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health evaluated the ability of broccoli to enhance detoxification. To do this, they first gathered 291 participants from a rural farming community in one of the most heavily industrialized regions in China and tested their urine and blood samples for inhaled pollutants. They then split the participants into two groups. The control group was given a beverage containing sterilized water, pineapple, and lime juice. Meanwhile, the treatment group had the same beverage, but it also contained freeze-dried powder made from broccoli sprouts. After 12 weeks, the researchers once again analyzed urine and blood samples from the participants.
The results showed that those in the treatment group experienced a 61 percent increase in the rate of excreting benzene compared to the control group. Additionally, their rate of excreting the carcinogen acrolein improved by 23 percent.
These detoxifying benefits of broccoli can be attributed to the presence of phytonutrients called glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin. These three glucosinolates are able to enhance the different steps involved in the body’s detoxification process, including the activation, neutralization, and elimination of toxins. To get the optimum detoxification benefits from broccoli, eat more sprouts since these have up to 50 times more antioxidants and are rich in sulforaphane glucosinolate and indole-3-carbinol that work against carcinogens. (Related: Broccoli sprout extract helps fight head and neck cancer by activating ‘detoxification’ gene, study finds.)
Other health benefits of broccoli
By including broccoli in your diet, you can also enjoy the following health benefits:
- Lowered blood sugar — Studies have shown that eating broccoli can improve insulin sensitivity of patients with Type 2 diabetes.
- Better heart health — Eating broccoli helps reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides that contribute to the development of heart disease.
- Healthy digestion — The high fiber and antioxidant content of broccoli helps support bowel function and digestive health.
- Enhanced immunity — Broccoli is packed with vitamin C, which is the most essential nutrient for immune function. Half a cup of this cruciferous vegetable delivers 84 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.