No matter what type of diet plan or advice you follow, there are likely a few common principles that you’ll notice. One of these principles is heavy reliance on veggies. Broccoli always seems to find its way to the top of the preferred foods list in most all plans, and for very good reason!
Upon looking into the research behind broccoli and its veggie relatives (cruciferous veggie group) it turns out that this category has alot to offer besides just micronutrient content. In fact, the phytonutrients found in cruciferous veggies, seem to provide the most unique benefit. Phytonutreints are natural compounds found in whole unprocessed foods, that deliver specific benefits to the body. Some examples of phytonutrients that you may have heard of include lycopene, resveratrol, and carotenoids.
Before we go into the detail of the benefits of this category of veggies, let’s first list them all out so you have some variety to choose from:
- Brussel sprouts
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
Now onto the benefits:
- Excess estrogen is common and causes PMS, mood swings, difficulty losing weight, rapid weight gain, bloating, puffiness, fluid retention, anxiety, etc.
- Specific phytonutrients from crucifers help block excess estrogens, and the fiber content helps excrete excess estrogens
- Focus on broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts for this benefit
- These days, toxins are found in nearly everything we’re in contact with and consume. Our bodies are not designed to handle the large amounts that we’re exposed to, so we need to give special attention to strengthening these pathways. Toxin overload is associated with many types of chronic disease and can cause a host of issues like digestive distress, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, fatigue, anxiety, depression, skin problems like acne, psoriasis and eczema, muscle aches joint pain, etc
- Two phytonutrients found in crucifers are responsible for improved detoxification. The sulfur based one is known to play a critical role in toxin metabolism and excretion
Improved Skin Clarity
- Crucifers are used to treat rosacea
- Sulfur compounds found in these veggies are crucial for healthy skin. A sulfur deficiency can cause acne, and rosacea
- Sulfur is needed to produce glutathione, which is the most potent antioxidant in your body
Anti Cancer Properties
- Cancer occurs when cancerous cells continue to multiply
- A phytochemical in crucifers has been studied for the prevention and treatment of cancer
- This phytochemical has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Research indicates this phytochemical is able to modulate and/or regulate the cancer producing process and is also selectively toxic to spreading cancer cells
Rich Source of Antioxidants
- Antioxidants are responsible for neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals, in excess, lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress over time, causes cell damage and death. This process leads to increased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and some forms of cancer. It’s also plays a large role in the aging process.
- A specific phytochemical in cruciferous veggies was found to be highly effective in reducing oxidative stress, when eating 1-2 cups a day
- How much should you eat? If you’re not already eating a cup or two a day, any addition on a daily basis will be improvement. If you’re really looking to reap the above benefits, I would aim for the 2 cup mark, on a daily basis.
- Many studies are looking at the effects of broccoli sprouts, which are basically baby broccoli (the sprout before it grows into the full plant). Broccoli sprouts are a super concentrated source of the phytonutrients found in cruciferous veggies. I honestly have never had broccoli sprouts and have never looked for them in the grocery store, so I’m not sure where you can buy them. Here is some info if you are interested in growing them, though
- It’s best to lightly steam or eat the cruciferous veggies raw, so you can retain as many of the phytonutrients as possible
Citation source used for the above info HERE