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I know what you are thinking—“Not broccoli!” Let me say right up front that you can take a supplement containing all the benefits of broccoli without the need to hide anything under the rim of your plate. In broccoli’s culinary defense though, I have to say that lightly sautéed broccoli in virgin olive oil with a pinch of sea salt is superb.

Consumption of “cruciferous vegetables” has long been associated with a reduced risk of breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer. Broccoli contains a substance called “indole-3-carbinol” that can actually change your bad estrogen into a good form of estrogen that protects your breast tissues [1]. Broccoli sprouts are also rich in “sulforaphane.” Sulforaphane causes your body to produce enzymes that detoxify free radicals, reduce inflammation, and remove carcinogens (chemicals that cause cancer) [2]. Laboratory studies show that sulforaphane slows or stops the growth of breast, prostate, and other cancer cells [3]. Some early studies in animals have shown promising results. New studies show that broccoli can even cause cancer cells to die [4]. I’m excited to see what future research reveals.

If you don’t enjoy broccoli as a whole food, then I recommend that you use a broccoli extract dietary supplement like I do for daily benefits.

References:

1. Michnovicz JJ, Adlercreutz H, Bradlow HL. Changes in levels of urinary estrogen metabolites after oral indole-3-carbinol treatment in humans. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1997; 89:718-723.

2. Nho CW, Jeffrey E. The synergistic upregulation of phase II detoxification enzymes by glucosinolate breakdown products in cruciferous vegetables. Toxicology and Applied Pharacology 2001; 174:146-152.

3. Juge N, Mithen RF, Traka M. Molecular basis for chemoprevention by sulforaphane: a comprehensive review. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 2007; 64:1105-1127.

4. Aggarwal BB, Ichikawa H. Molecular targets and anticancer potential of indole-3-carbinol and its derivatives. Cell Cycle 2005; 4:1201-1215.

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