(NaturalHealth365) Researchers at Imperial College London suggest that eating at least a cup of broccoli a day can prevent clogging of your arteries. They found evidence that a chemical in broccoli and leafy green vegetables could protect the heart by preventing the blocking of arteries.
How does broccoli keep your heart healthy?
Broccoli is rich in the compound called sulforaphane – that is shown to ‘turn on’ a protein that prevents the plaque formation (block) in the arteries. It is also rich in glucosinolates, from which the anti-inflammatory isothiocyanates (ITCs) are produced.
ITCs stop chronic inflammation inside the cells and blood vessels. In addition, these ITCs reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Inflammation within the arteries can prove to be a killer
Broccoli gives a complete range of antioxidants – vitamins C, E; minerals like, zinc, manganese; carotenoids lutein, betacarotene and zeaxanthin; plus flavonoids like kaempferol and quercetin.
These key antioxidants work as a group to reduce the oxidative stress and inflammation associated with many degenerative conditions. Simply put, the more stress you have in your life – the more antioxidants you need to protect your health.
Broccoli’s I3C lowers cholesterol and prevents plaque buildup
Being rich in fiber and the phytonutrient Indole-3-carbinol ( I-3C), broccoli helps lower cholesterol. The soluble fiber bind with bile acids in your digestive system and excrete them resulting in lowered cholesterol. The I-3C lowers the rate at which the (LDL) bad cholesterol travels to different areas of the body and prevents plaque formation.
One research study found that the phytonutrient, sulforaphane – abundant in broccoli – was able to prevent the clinging of platelets inside the blood vessels. Sulforaphane also stopped the formation of new layer of thickening inside the walls of the blood vessels supplying the heart.
Another study highlighted sulforaphane’s ability to prevent inflammation of an existing plaque and prevent blocks in the blood vessels. A recent 2013 study that was done to find out the effects of broccoli extracts and other plant compounds in rat models with inflammatory bowel disorder showed that broccoli was a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. The study suggested that broccoli in combination with other anti-inflammatory agents like turmeric, thyme and rosemary showed a promising potential in decreasing inflammation.
What is the best way to cook broccoli?
Broccoli is a good source of antioxidants and it can be consumed raw and in cooked form. Broccoli retains most of its nutrition when consumed raw or lightly steamed – for 3 minutes or less. Cooking methods like frying, baking, pressure-cooking or boiling lowers its nutrition. Keep in mind, you can still get all its nutrients if you use the water in which the broccoli is boiled.
It is recommended that for a healthy heart you need to eat plenty of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, fiber-rich foods, with a good supply of vitamins and minerals. Broccoli gives you all of these and more for protecting your heart.
It is no coincidence that more than 100 research papers emphasize the benefits of eating broccoli from cancer prevention to strong heart-healthy effects. Most nutritional health experts agree that eating broccoli is a great way to eliminate chronic inflammation, prevent oxidative stress and reduce excessive levels of cholesterol.
So, get to the kitchen and make yourself a hearty bowl of creamy broccoli soup or steamed broccoli (tonight) to keep your heart strong.
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1. Kwon JS et.al; Sulforaphane inhibits restenosis by suppressing inflammation and the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. Atherosclerosis. 2012 Nov;225(1):41-9.
2. Mueller K, Blum NM, Mueller AS. Examination of the Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant, and Xenobiotic-Inducing Potential of Broccoli Extract and Various Essential Oils during a Mild DSS-Induced Colitis in Rats. ISRN Gastroenterol. 2013;2013:710856.
3. Xue M et.al; Activation of NF-E2-related factor-2 reverses biochemical dysfunction of endothelial cells induced by hyperglycemia linked to vascular disease. Diabetes July 15 2008.
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