Health Benefits of Broccoli

Eat the whole food, not supplements


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Health benefits of broccoli require the whole food, not supplements

Health benefits of broccoli require the whole food, not supplements CO

Health benefits of broccoli require the whole food, not supplements according to recent research, which also warns that vital cancer-fighting agents are lost when broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are overcooked. Lightly steaming your vegetables is recommended...


New Research on Broccoli Benefits

CORVALLIS, Ore. 23 October 2011-- New research has found that the benefits of eating broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables cannot be replaced by eating veggie supplements one of the most important phytochemical in these vegetables is poorly absorbed and of far less value if taken as a supplement.

The study, published by scientists in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, also found that cooking these vegetables too much could mean that important nutrients are lost.

Emily Ho, an associate professor in the OSU School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, and principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute explains that whereas some nutrients can be better absorbed in supplement form, such as folic acid or vitamin D, the health giving compounds of broccoli need to come from the complete food.

Phytochemicals Reduce Cancer Risk

Researchers believe that an enzyme know as myrosinase is missing from most of the supplement forms of glucosinolates, a valuable phytochemical in cruciferous vegetables.

Without this enzyme the body absorbs up to eight times less of two important compounds, sulforaphane and eruc. Many scientists believe that these compounds might reduce the risk of cancers such as prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancer.

Crunchy, Lightly Cooked, Broccoli is Best

Cooking broccoli until it is soft and mushy also destroys this enzyme according to Ho. These vegetables need to be cooked lightly or preferably steamed and eaten while still a little crunchy to retain adequate levels of the necessary enzyme.

When eaten as a raw or lightly cooked food, enzymes in the broccoli help to break down the glucosinolates into sulforaphane and erucin.

Studies have indicated that sulforaphane, in particular, may help to detoxify carcinogens, and also activate tumor suppressor genes so they can perform their proper function.

Small amounts of the myrosinase enzyme needed to break down glucosinolates are found in the human gut, but not enough to work efficiently.

Scientists are also working on improving supplements so that they include active myrosinase but these products will need to undergo tests to ensure that they work.

Although broccoli has the highest levels of glucosinolates, these are also found in vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, and kale and the same recommendations apply when cooking these to retain their benefits.

But in the meantime if want the real health benefits of broccoli, there's a simple guideline. Eat them raw or lightly cooked.


Futher Information

For Further Information:
Contact: Emily Ho
emily.ho@oregonstate.edu
541-737-9559
Oregon State University

(Source: Oregon State University, Journal of Agricuture and Food Chemistry)


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