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I think that the animosity towards broccoli is extremely over-rated. Some of us scorn at the very thought of eating a broccoli but the smarter one's knows that melting cheese sauce over steamed broccoli can be the yummiest and simplest vegetable dish ever. Remember, how as children, our mothers would pester us in to having at least a couple of pieces of broccoli. We shall do the same to our children. Then, not to forget, came in the broccoli soup diet. Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrients and often listed as a super-food. The origin of broccoli can be traced back to Italy. It reached the United States about 200 years ago but gained popularity only in 1920s. The most commonly available variety in the country is Italian green or broccoli sprouts.

Contents in Broccoli

Broccoli contains a type of anti-carcinogens, known as isothiocyanates, that target defective gene p53 responsible for cancer. Carcinogens promote the production of cancerous cells while anti-carcinogens fight and destroy them. It has now been proven that broccoli does combat cancer because it contains two cancer preventing compounds - sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol.

Sulforaphane in Broccoli
It is a compound found abundantly in broccoli and has been proven to fight the primary cancer cells that promote the growth of the disease in the body. It has been discovered that sulforaphane fights an enzyme called Histone Deacetylase (HDAC). It also promotes the production of glutathione, an enzyme that destroys cancer-stimulating food components, especially found in over-cooked meat. This means that as it fights the root cause, it will prevent a cancer relapse which is often the case in chemotherapy treatments. It is especially beneficial in treating breast cancer. It prevents the growth or development of a new tumor. It does not target healthy cells. It works like a natural chemotherapy mechanism, but in multiple body parts!

Indole-3-Carbinol in Broccoli
Another special compound present in broccoli, indole-3-carbinol helps reduce estrogen levels, specifically 4-hydroxyestrone, in the body that are responsible for breast cancer, especially in females. The phytonutrient in broccoli also helps obstruct the movement of cancerous cells to other parts of the body, thereby, restricting the growth of cancer. It also promotes the growth and multiplication of the body's natural anti-cancer cells.

Broccoli is rich in folate and beta-carotene, both of which help build immunity required to fight cancer. It prevents all types of cancers related to bowel, colon, prostate, breast, cervical, bladder, mouth, etc. Broccoli not just helps prevent cancer from developing in your body, it also helps a cancer patient to reduce the symptoms and even completely cure this life-threatening disease. If anyone you know is suffering from any type of cancer, providing at least 2-3 servings of broccoli daily along with the medications can prove to be useful. It will help prevent the cancer from spreading and it will also fight to cure it.

Cook Broccoli the Right Way

It is very important that you cook broccoli the right way in order to reap the cancer fighting benefits of the cruciferous vegetable. If you overcook it, excess heat will destroy myrosinase, an enzyme needed by the body for the metamorphosis of sulforaphane. Boiling also results in significant reduction of the nutritional value of broccoli. Hence, I would suggest that you eat the broccoli raw or lightly saute it in a pan using extra virgin olive oil/ sunflower oil. Always wrap your broccoli in a plastic sheet and refrigerate to avoid contact with air. Broccoli is a wonder vegetable that also helps prevent and cure diabetes, heart diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, constipation, stress, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and improves overall health of your eyes.

While you are shopping for groceries, choose a broccoli which has a shade of deep green or purple. The color is an indicator of the level of beta-carotene. Never buy the yellow colored ones, wet or even open clusters. In fact, I will let you in on a secret, the bitter the broccoli, more sulforaphane it contains but broccoli sprouts have 20 times more of the phytochemical.

Why don't you safeguard your health and that of your family's with broccoli and prevent cancer. In fact, if you have a family history of breast cancer or prostate cancer, make it a consistent part of your diet. This cancer combating vegetable is very economical on your grocery budget and available throughout the year. You can start by trying a cheese sauce and broccoli recipe. It is simple to cook and tastes good. The kids will love it and so would you. Avoid broccoli supplements as the real deal is better because it has far more vitamins and minerals packed in it and is free of synthetic chemicals.