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Why Broccoli Is a Super-Healing Food

Super-Healing Foods: Page 10

By , Caring.com contributing editor
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bright broccoli

You'll find it difficult to locate another single food source with as much naturally occurring health-promoting properties as broccoli. A single cup of steamed broccoli provides more than 200 percent of the RDA for vitamin C (more than oranges), nearly as much of vitamin K, and about half of the daily allowance for vitamin A, along with plentiful folate, fiber, sulfur, iron, B vitamins, and a whole host of other important nutrients. Calorie for calorie, broccoli contains about twice the amount of protein as steak -- and a lot more protective phytonutrients.

Broccoli's phytochemicals fight cancer by neutralizing carcinogens and accelerating their elimination from the body, in addition to inhibiting tumors caused by chemical carcinogens. Studies show evidence that these substances help prevent lung and esophageal cancers and may play a role in lowering the risk of other cancers, including gastrointestinal cancer.

Phytonutrients called indoles found in broccoli help protect against prostate, gastric, skin, breast, and cervical cancers. Some research suggests that indoles also protect the structure of DNA and may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Extensive studies have linked broccoli to a 20 percent reduction in heart disease risk. In Chinese medicine, broccoli is used to treat eye inflammation.

How much: If you can eat a little broccoli every day, your body will thank you for it. If you can't swing it, aim for eating it as regularly as possible. Like many other vegetables, broccoli provides fantastic nutrition both in its raw form and when it's properly cooked. Cooking reduces some of broccoli's anticancer components, but lightly steaming it will preserve most of the nutrients. Broccoli is available fresh year-round in most areas, but if you can't find it where you live, frozen broccoli is a good substitute.

Tip:

  • Steaming or cooking broccoli lightly releases the maximum amount of the antioxidant sulforaphane.