Even though broccoli is a “super food”, not everybody likes it. It offers much in the way of health benefits and researchers have found even more super reasons to eat broccoli.
Researchers from the University of Illinois have identified genes controlling the accumulation of phenolic compounds in broccoli. Consumption of these compounds, including certain flavonoids, is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma and several types of cancer.
There is good antioxidant activity in these phenolic compounds, and there is increasing evidence that this activity affects the biochemical pathways that are affiliated with inflammation in mammals. Inflammation is something we need because it’s a response to disease or damage, but also is associated with initiation of a number of degenerative diseases. Those with diets that consist of a level of these compounds will have a lesser risk of contracting these diseases, according to U of I geneticist, Jack Juvik.
Two broccoli lines were crossed and tested in terms of total phenolic content and their ability to neutralize oxygen radicals in cellular assays. After that they used a genetic technique called quantitative trait locus analysis to search for the genes involved in generating phenolics in promising progeny.
Researchers are one step closer to breeding broccoli and related Brassica vegetables like kale and cabbage with mega-doses of phenolic compounds by identifying the genes involved.
Phenolic compounds are flavorless and stable, so that is good news, and the vegetables can be cooked without losing health-promoting qualities. After consumption of these vegetables, the phenolic compounds are absorbed and targeted to certain areas of the body or concentrated in the liver. Then flavonoids are spread through the bloodstream, reducing inflammation through their antioxidant activity.
These things must be received through our diet, as we can’t make them ourselves. Compounds do not stick around, so we need to eat that broccoli or other Brassica vegetable every 3 or 4 days to lower the risk of cancers and other degenerative diseases.
If you have diabetes 2, broccoli is a great way of adjusting your INR when it goes astray and your blood is running a little thin and your INR level high. This super food is great for you and can be prepared many ways. My favorite is the steamed broccoli topped with a little organic butter. Delicious!
-Dr Fredda Branyon