The healing powers of broccoli have been known and used for a long time. In fact, this cruciferous vegetable is considered as one of the most nutritious vegetables in existence along with spinach and kale. It first appeared in the Italian province of Campania, and was immediately recognized for its healing properties by the Ancient Romans.
Broccoli was brought in the United States by the Italian immigrants at the beginning of 20th century. It soon gained popularity among the settlers, and it became a household name in the average American diet. Statistics show that in the last 25 years, its consumption has marked a rise of over 940 percent. One of the reasons for this rapid increase might be that more and more studies bring to attention the health benefits it has for our body.
Packed with cancer-fighting isothiocyanates
Among the studies that confirm the health benefits of broccoli there are such showing that broccoli can be effective in the prevention and treatment of several types of cancer. One of them, published in Recent Patents on Endocrine Metabolic & Immune Drug Discovery in 2013, has conclusively demonstrated that cruciferous vegetables have anti-tumor activity.
Further on, the research concludes that the antioxidants found in broccoli, the isothiocyanates could “inhibit the cell viability of human cervical cancer cells, human pancreatic cancer cells, human hepatocellular carcinoma cells, human ovarian cancer cells, and have shown anti-inflammatory properties in the treatment of human T-cell leukemia cells.”
The presence of isothiocyanates in broccoli has also been identified as the most probable reason for its cancer fighting properties by a review published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention in 2013. However, it is still unclear what effect these compounds might have in chemoprevention.
Full of vitamins C and K
Broccoli has so much vitamins C and K that it alone is sufficient to provide us with the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of these two crucial vitamins. In fact, just one cup of chopped broccoli can supplement up to 135% of RDA of vitamin C, and 116% of vitamin K. Vitamin C is not only a potent antioxidant that helps in cleansing the harmful free radicals from our system but it prolongs aging by helping the body to synthesize collagen, which is essential for our connective tissues.
By the same token, Vitamin K is pivotal in blood coagulation and keeping our bones healthy. Lack of vitamin K in our body can lead to difficulties in formation of blood clots and result in excessive bleeding. The situation can deteriorate even further and result in some bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
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