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Soy beans

Broccoli is a Superfood

This cruciferous vegetable is so common to our western and asian vegetable stores and refrigerators that it is largely dismissed as just another vegetable. We seem to cook it almost without a second thought. In this article you will not only find out that it is delicious lightly steamed and can be consumed alone or added to many dishes such as stir fry, added to a traditional ratatouille or a simple salad, but mainly, that broccoli or it's sprouts are very, very, very good for us.

BroccoliBroccoli is a part of the Cabbage family (Brassica oleracea) which is thought to have originated in Italy where it was bred from wild cabbage around 6BC.

It is...

  • One of the best vegetable sources of vitamin A, C and Calcium. The A and C combination enhances the absorption of calcium. The trick here is that these vitamins are easily damaged by heat so do not cook broccoli longer than 5 minutes.
  • An excellent source of calcium and phosphorus, a valuable combination for building strong bones.
  • A great source of magnesium and iron. The former being essential for nervous system functioning and muscular release (including blood vessels which are special type of holow muscles). This is important with respect to heart and circulatory health. The latter, Iron, is essential for building red blood cells which is used for oxygen transport throughout the body. Both iron and magnesium promote good enzymatic activity aiding digestion.
  • A high source of sulforaphane, a naturally scouring organic sulphur. This phytonutrient stimulates enzymatic activity, used to flush out cancer causing toxins. Sulforaphane has been found to selectively attack cancer causing stem cells.(4) Cooking it lightly is crucial to keeping sulforaphane active (2). View a fascinating discussion on cooking and chemistry of broccoli:
  • In prostate cancer cells, sulforaphane significantly reduces the expression of long noncoding RNAs also known as junk DNA. This results in up to 400% reduction of cancer cells' capability to form colonies.
  • The incredible goodness does not end there, sulforaphane in sulphur rich cruciferous vegetables and sprouts increases the activity of the liver's detoxification enzymes. These enzymes have the ability to clear a wide variety of toxic compounds from the body including carcinogens and ROS type of free radicals providing protection against cell mutations, cancer and other harmfull results of these toxins.
  • The hallmark active ingredient sulforaphane also acts to lower inflammation by significantly reducing damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) by up to 73%, activating nrf2 in microvascular endothelial cells preventing metabolic dysfunction in cases of hyperglycaemia.(5)
  • Sulforaphane also helps repair skin damage.
  • It is rich with flavonoid kaempferol which helps fight allergies
  • Has soluble fiber and chromium which helps reduce blood glucose levels, an important facet of diabetes prevention and stabilisation.
  • Contains phytonutrients glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin. (4) which make it an excellent detoxification supporter.
  • Rich source of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin support healthy eyes.

The amazing ingredient sulforaphane however needs optimising and activating. In mature raw broccoli, sulforaphane is present with epithiospecifier protein. This protein grabs sulforaphane and makes it unavailable to us. Cooking fresh broccoli removes this sulforaphane grabbing protein but cooking it beyond the 5 minutes also removes the enzyme myrosinase which makes it absorbable to us. What a catch 22, watch those timers carefully and then run cold water over it to stop the cooking right on time. But, wait, there is more. What makes the sulforaphane even more available is combining it with myrosinase-containing foods some of which are mustard seed, daikon radishes, wasabi, arugula or coleslaw. In particular mustard seeds contain a particularly resilient form of myrosinase.

 

 

What is left to mention is that if you are suffering nutrient deficiencies then we have to ask ourselves the all important question, why? What is happening to stop my body from absorbing nutrients from food? In Chinese medicine, I go in and examine many symptoms, energetic relationships within your body, emotional effects on you and treat these appropriately. This is by definition Holistic Therapy. Shiatsu is an amazing therapy for delivering quality care.Zen Hands Logo. Natural therapies, Shiatsu, Japanese Needle Therapies, Massage

 

To your good health!

 

 

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Footnotes and references:

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(1) Study on the effects of sulforaphane within the sphere of cancer and regenerative pathways: Targeting cancer stem cells with sulforaphane, a dietary component from broccoli and broccoli sprouts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23902242

(2) Cooking times for best results are: Steam for 3-4 minutes will increase the available sulforaphane levels by eliminating epithiospecifier protein, a heat-sensitive sulfur-grabbing protein that inactivates sulforaphane while retaining the enzyme myrosinase, which converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane. Steaming beyond the 5 minute mark and you start to also eliminate the other heat sensitive components reducing the overall effectiveness. So, do not overcook! Boiling times are 20-30 seconds and then arrest the cooking process via a quick cold water rinse. Do not use frozen broccoli as the pre-cooking process destroys up to 80% of the glucoraphanin.

(3) In summer use broccoli sprouts. 3 days of sprouting is the best time to have a raw shot of anti- cancer goodness. These have shown to have up to 50 times the active compounds of a mature broccoli.

(4) http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/diet/elements_phytochemicals.html

(5) Activation of NF-E2-related factor-2 reverses biochemical dysfunction of endothelial cells induced by hyperglycemia linked to vascular disease http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2008/08/04/db06-1003?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=Paul

 

Updated 16/9/2018 11/9/2018+Thornalley&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT

 

 

Updated 21/7/2018

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