Winter tends to weigh us down. We want to move as slow as a sloth, but work and family pressures don’t allow us to slow the pace. How can we combat the dreaded doldrums? Everything we need to lighten up is found in the produce aisle. Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body’s detoxification system. The dynamic trio of nutrients glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin neutralize and eliminate unwanted contaminants, leaving us feeling lighter and more able to cope. Most toxins that pose a risk to our cells are detoxified in our body through a two-step process. What’s remarkable about broccoli is its ability to alter activity in both steps: The glucosinolates in broccoli assist the first step in detoxification (called Phase I) and its sulforaphane content supports the second step (called Phase II). Broccoli consumption has increased more than 940 percent over the last 25 years. It could be because broccoli contains an ample amount of protein and is one of the richest vegetable sources of calcium, iron and magnesium. Moreover, broccoli boasts substantial amounts of vitamin A and contains more vitamin C than an orange! Need more reasons to to serve these mini trees at dinner this week? Look at these five amazing facts on the cleansing cruciferous:
1. Broccoli may relieve asthma symptoms. Sulforaphane is a naturally occurring chemical found in broccoli. This interesting molecule increases the amount of active Phase II enzymes of the upper respiratory tract, helping with symptoms of asthma. These enzymes are responsible for neutralizing the harmful toxins we breathe every day that can cause respiratory distress in sensitive people, especially those with respiratory conditions.
2. Broccoli is loaded with fibre. Foods high in fibre and nutrients can help weight-loss efforts by increasing the feeling of being full, thereby helping us eating less. Fibre is also necessary to “soak-up” the toxins dumped into the intestines by the liver. Without fibre, the toxins are reabsorbed into our bodies, wreaking havoc on our systems.
3. Broccoli may protect against tissue damage in diabetes. Diabetes-type tissue damage is caused by sharp glucose crystals circulating in the bloodstream. The naturally occurring chemicals in broccoli, flavonol glycosides and hydroxycinnamic acid, are responsible for antioxidant protection that helps combat free radical tissue damage.
4. Broccoli is a good source of many of the B vitamins. Broccoli is excellent for women who are currently on or have previously used oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives are proven to dramatically reduce levels of circulating B vitamins in the body. The B complex vitamins are required for a number of metabolic reactions in the body including fat and carbohydrate metabolism for proper energy production.
5. Broccoli may stop replication of colon-cancer cells. The beautiful green colour of broccoli can be attributed to its high chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll helps to alkalize the body and may stop the replication of colon-cancer cells by arresting the cells’ abnormal cycle.
“Broccoli is excellent for women who are currently on or have previously used oral contraceptives.”