Broccoli has its roots in Italy. It was obtained by hybridization from other cabbage crops in the 5th-6th centuries BC. For many centuries, this type of cabbage was not known outside of Italy. Broccoli was brought to France only in the 16th century thanks to Catherine de Medici, and to England even later - in the 18th century. Here it was called Italian asparagus. Broccoli came to the United States only at the beginning of the 20th century thanks to Italian immigrants.
Broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable. The beneficial properties of broccoli include a positive effect on digestion, cardiovascular, immune systems, as well as anti-inflammatory and ant carcinogenic effects. What's more, broccoli is low in sodium and calories and contains no fat at all.
“Broccoli contains significant amounts of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin A,” says Victoria, a nutritionist at the Texas Institute of Fitness at the University of Texas at Austin. - "And also a sufficient amount of protein."
Broccoli is a rich source of plant pigments and antioxidants. Plant pigments are substances that give plants their color, aroma and taste. Plant pigments have many beneficial properties, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. The pigments found in broccoli include carotenoids, and flavonoids.
"Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that can damage cells in the body," says Dr. Jarzabkowski. Free radicals are unstable molecules produced by metabolism. These compounds increase the risk of developing cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
“Broccoli is a source of antioxidant lutein and sulforaphane, a powerful antioxidant,” says Dr. Jarzabkowski. Broccoli also contains additional nutrients, including magnesium, phosphorus, and small amounts of zinc and iron.
For obese people with type 2 diabetes, broccoli extract is just what the doctor ordered. In an article published in the journal Science Translational Medicine on June 14, 2017, scientists talk about the ability of the substance sulforaphane, found in broccoli (as well as in other cruciferous vegetables, cabbage and Brussels sprouts), to reduce the activity of 50 genes responsible for the manifestation of symptoms of type 2 diabetes ... The study included 97 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who received broccoli extract for 12 weeks. No effect was observed in non-obese patients, while obese participants had a 10% decrease in fasting glucose compared to a control group. However, the dose of antioxidant that the participants received in total was 100 times the amount,
This same substance has been shown to help relieve symptoms associated with autism. In the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 13, 2014, scientists reported that patients with autism who received an extract containing sulforaphane improved verbal communication and social interactions.
The most famous and beneficial property of broccoli is its ability to protect against cancer. “Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. It is known that all vegetables belonging to this family are able to protect against the development of cancer of the stomach and intestines, ”says Dr. Jarzabkowski.
The American Cancer Society particularly emphasizes the importance of broccoli's potent antioxidants sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. These substances have detoxifying properties and can reduce the severity of oxidative stress. They can also affect estrogen levels, which in turn can lower your risk of breast cancer.
According to Dr. Jarzabkowski, broccoli helps lower blood cholesterol levels. The fiber contained in cabbage binds to cholesterol in the blood, and this contributes to its rapid elimination from the body.
The plant pigments glucoraphanin, gluconasturcin and glucobrasscin are involved in all stages of the body's detoxification process, from neutralizing toxins to eliminating them. A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found broccoli sprouts to be the most beneficial in this regard.
In addition to lowering cholesterol levels, broccoli also strengthens the walls of blood vessels. The sulforaphane in broccoli is anti-inflammatory and helps prevent the development of atherosclerotic plaques, especially in patients with type 2 diabetes. According to Harvard Public Health University, the B complex regulates homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that builds up in the body when eating red meat and increases the risk of coronary heart disease.
“You probably know that carrots are good for eyesight due to their lutein content,” says Dr. Jarzabkowski. “Lutein is an antioxidant that has a positive effect on eye health. Broccoli is one of the best sources of lutein. "
Another antioxidant found in broccoli, zeaxanthin, has properties similar to lutein. Both lutein and zeaxanthin protect against the development of macular degeneration, an incurable disease that affects central vision, and cataracts, a clouding of the lens.
Dr. Jarzabkowski highlights the digestive properties of broccoli due to its high fiber content. For 10 calories, broccoli contains 1 g of fiber. Fiber also contributes to the maintenance of normal intestinal microflora.
Broccoli protects the stomach lining from ulcers and inflammation. The sulforaphane contained in this product inhibits the growth of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria that attacks the gastric mucosa. A 2009 study by Johns Hopkins on mice showed interesting results. In mice that ate broccoli daily for two months, there was a 40% reduction in H. pylori levels.
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