Sinatra's Super Foods: Broccoli

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition, Super Foods
Last Reviewed 10/22/2014

Sinatra's Super Foods: Broccoli

Interested in reducing your risk of cancer? (Who isn't!) Then don't skimp on the broccoli.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli contain an incredible number of phytonutrients that can protect against cell damage caused by free radical stress, which can lead to cancer development. In particular, animal and population studies have shown that the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol, specifically found in broccoli, can prevent tumors.

One animal study showed that indole-3-carbinol destroyed cancerous cells in rodents with breast cancer. In addition, Japanese research has determined that sulforaphane, another specific phytonutrient found in high amounts in broccoli, also inhibits tumor growth.

Broccoli's cancer-prevention properties don't end with these two mighty phytonutrients, however.

Broccoli also contains a plant compound called D-glucarate. Also known as glucaric acid, D-glucarate has been shown to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers due to its ability to help detoxify the body of cancer-causing chemicals. A key way your body eliminates toxins is through compounds that attach themselves to toxic molecules, then escort them out of the body, usually via the urinary tract or the colon—which is just what D-glucarate appears to do.

And let's not forget broccoli's heart-health benefits, since they are considerable. Eat a bunch of broccoli and your heart will benefit from the magnesium, your blood pressure will benefit from the calcium and potassium, and your cholesterol levels will benefit from the lutein present in this hearty green veggie.

Make It Better With Broccoli

Eating steamed broccoli as a side dish and dunking raw broccoli into your favorite dip for a heart-healthy snack are certainly popular ways to boost your broccoli intake. But don't stop there. Add broccoli to pasta dishes by stuffing it into shells or mixing it into pasta primavera. Fold it into your next omelet. And try the recipe below to prepare a big pot of broccoli soup that's low in calories but high in nutrients. (Get more heart-healthy recipes.)

I recommend eating a serving of cruciferous veggies every day, so make sure to explore all your broccoli options. And as always, organically grown produce is best, so choose organic broccoli whenever possible.

Broccoli Soup

  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 lb. fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. curry powder to taste (optional)

Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the broccoli, onion, and garlic and simmer until soft, about 30 minutes. Puree the soup in a food processor or blender, return to the pot, and add the lemon juice and pepper. For an extra kick of flavor, add the curry powder right before you puree the soup.

Makes 5 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 50, Total Fat 1 g, Sodium 102 mg, Carbs 11 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 5 g

Get all the details on other Sinatra's Super Foods.

WATCH: Dr. Sinatra's Top 12 Healing Foods

 

 

Video courtesy of HeartMDInstitute

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