Numerous studies suggest that consumption of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale) reduce the risk of some cancers. The sulfur in vegetables is what gives cruciferous vegetables their distinction. According to the University of Illinois consuming 2 pounds of broccoli per week reduces the risk of colon, stomach and lung cancer by 50 percent.
Sulforaphane (known for its anti-cancer benefits in humans) is the metabolic compound of glucosinolate which is broken down by the enzyme myrosinase. Glucosinolate carries cancer fighting agents that increase DNA repair in cells (Indole- 3- Carbinol or IC3); which blocks the initiation of tumors (diinodolyl methane or DIM). Thus rendering the compound anti viral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and according to the Univ of Illinois, anti-diabetic.
What Constitutes a Serving?
One half cup raw or cooked broccoli equals 1 serving. Consuming 1 serving per day reduces the risk of breast, ovarian and skin cancer. However, according to the J of Agric Food Chem 2008, it was found that raw broccoli versus cooked proved to be more beneficial in terms of the bioavailability of the plant chemical sulforaphane (a sulfur compound). Bioavailability in raw vegetables equaled 37% versus 3.4% in cooked vegetables.
Further, the absorption rate was 1.6 hours with the raw broccoli versus 6 hours with the cooked broccoli. When broccoli is overcooked the enzyme myrosinase is destroyed; which, inhibits the absorption of sulforaphane. Lastly, the absorption capacity diminishes as follows: 20 – 30% after five minutes, 40 – 50% after 10 minutes and 77% after 30 minutes.
This is outstanding information. Unfortunately, the report card on the consumption of vegetables in the U.S. is dismal. Given the data presented, you may want to consider increasing your consumption of fresh, organic, raw broccoli to decrease your risk of cancer, one of the top leading causes of death in the U.S. Better yet, try broccoli sprouts (found to be more effective). This is a behavioral change, something that is within your power to do. Make the commitment to “do health” today.