Broccoli is considered a “superfood”, since it has a high nutritional value and low calories, despite the fact that some reject it because of its strong smell, something normal in foods belonging to the cabbage family.
Rubén Bravo, dietitian expert in nutrition and gastronomy, from the European Medical Institute of Obesity, IMEO (www.imeoobesidad.com), explains that this cruciferous vegetable has a large amount of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and specific phytonutrients, highlighting vitamin A , of group B and C, and is also rich in selenium, calcium, potassium, carotenes, amino acids and fiber.
According to Bravo there is a notorious scientific evidence that allows to affirm that its consumption “helps reduce the probability of suffering colon cancer due to its high content of selenium”, although it could also be a therapeutic alternative when suffering from this cancer, since it has been demonstrated efficacy of some of its compounds in the elimination of cancer cells.
Also including broccoli on a regular basis in our diet “can help us in weight loss plans because of its high fiber and protein content, since it provides a lot of satiety and regulates blood sugar levels.”
“Broccoli also has an important antioxidant action, being an ally against premature aging, and helps prevent cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and hypercholesterolemia”, Bravo highlights.
This vegetable contains a chemical substance that can help suppress the development of tumors, according to a team of researchers from the Harvard University School of Medicine, in the USA.
Experts at this university have linked a compound called I3C, which is found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables, with the activity of one of the body’s most powerful tumor suppressor genes.
The study says that indole-3-carbinol or I3C is involved in a complex chemical chain reaction that helps rid a tumor suppressor gene of interference so it can do its job.
This work also highlights the “chemical warfare” that takes place within the body as it fights to prevent tumors from developing, even as diseased tissues themselves struggle to grow and spread throughout the body.
The research came from the laboratory of researcher Pier Paolo Pandolfi of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, BIDMC, in Boston, Massachusetts (USA) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), who is exploring the anti-cancer properties of crucifers, a family of vegetables, which in addition to broccoli, include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale.
Crucifers contain chemicals called glucosinolates, responsible for the pungent aroma and bitter taste of these vegetables, which, during meal preparation and, when chewing and digesting them, break down into other compounds such as isothiocyanates, thiocyanates and indoles, according to the National Cancer Institute, of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Indole-3-carbinol (an indole) and sulforaphane (an isothiocyanate) are frequently studied for their anticancer effects, and in studies with laboratory animals indoles and isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit cancer formation in various organs, among them: the bladder, breasts, colon, liver, lungs and stomach, according to the NIH.
Studies of these substances in humans have yielded more moderate results, finding some evidence that people who maintain a high consumption of cruciferous plants may have a lower risk of developing cancers of the prostate, colorectal (in women), lung and breast, according to this same source.