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Broccoli is a source of some very critical nutritional benefits that are not listed on a nutrition label. As a member of the cruciferous family, which is also populated by cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale, and many other vegetables, broccoli contains high amounts of the phytonutrients sulforaphane and the indoles, both of which have anticancer properties.
Sulforaphane enhances the activity of the body’s detoxification enzymes, which helps to eliminate potentially cancer-causing elements more quickly. A study published in Cancer discovered that indole-3-carbinol, which occurs naturally in broccoli and its cousins, suppressed the growth of prostate cancer cells and also inhibited the production of prostate specific antigen (PSA).
Investigators with the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial found that eating broccoli more than once a week could reduce the likelihood of developing stage III and IV prostate cancer by 45 percent. The most healthful way to enjoy broccoli is lightly steamed or sautéed for no more than five minutes. If the vegetable is cooked longer than that, the anticancer abilities of its phytonutrients fade.
Before you begin cooking, however, cut the florets into pieces and let them sit for about five minutes. This allows the vegetable’s cancer-preventing elements to form before you cook it, because heat denatures the enzyme that allows the process to occur. To boost the healthful value of your meal, add virgin olive oil and fresh garlic and cayenne.