Mounting Evidence Pegs Broccoli as One of Nature's Most Health-Promoting Foods, Tackling Hypertension, Cancer, and More
Mounting scientific studies have demonstrated that broccoli is one of nature's most valuable health-promoting foods. Science has proven time after time that Mother Nature is the best physician, and food is the best medicine.
A recent study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension,1 adds to the mounting scientific evidence about broccoli's noteworthy health benefits. A compound in broccoli, glucosinolate, produces a metabolite called sulforaphane that can significantly improve your blood pressure and kidney function, according to this latest animal study.
Sulforaphane is an organic sulfur compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish and arugula – but it's highest in broccoli sprouts.
Sulforaphane has been shown to have antidiabetic and antimicrobial properties, and also kills cancer stem cells, which slows tumor growth. Researchers believe eliminating cancer stem cells is key to controlling cancer.
This is something current chemotherapies cannot do, but food can! This latest research confirms broccoli's benefits go beyond cancer prevention.
In this 2012 study, hypertensive rats with impaired kidney function were given sulforaphane. The natural compound improved the rats' kidney function and lowered their blood pressure by normalizing a process called DNA methylation.
The Food You Eat Actually Changes Your DNA
What is DNA methylation?
Without getting too far adrift in biochemistry, DNA methylation2 is the process by which a methyl group (one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms) is added to part of a 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 important in regulating gene expression. DNA methylation also suppresses the genes for things you DON'T want, such as viral and other disease-related genes. Abnormal DNA methylation plays a crucial role in the development of nearly all types of cancer.
Broccoli sprouts have also been shown to inhibit Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria thought to cause gastric ulcers), protect your heart, and may offer protection against UV radiation damage to your skin when applied topically.3 The sulforaphane from broccoli plays a role in activating more than 200 different genes. And you don't have to consume a truckload of broccoli to reap its benefits.
In fact, a 2008 study published in PLoS One4 found that just four servings of broccoli per week could protect men from prostate cancer. One serving of broccoli is about two spears, so that's only 10 broccoli spears per week.