Healthy Aging

Natural Cancer-Fighter Does Even More For Your Health

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Natural Cancer-Fighter Does Even More For Your Health about ComfortPro

Over the past few years the important anti-cancer benefits of natural chemicals in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have received a lot of attention.

But, it turns out, the benefits of eating meals containing this vegetable family – which includes things like cabbage, arugula, bok choy and cauliflower -- go a lot further than fighting cancer. Researchers seem to be turning up new, impressively powerful ways these foods can improve wellness just about every month.

So, if you've been turning your nose up at broccoli and its vegetable relatives, it's time to quell your cruciferous reluctance and get them on your plate and into your belly.

The studies of cruciferous vegetables show that when you consume them, their phytochemicals can help support better health in just about every part of your body.

Let's start with the brain.

Stops inflammation in the brain

Research at Louisiana State University (LSU) in conjunction with European scientists show that sulforaphane, a versatile natural chemical in these vegetables, can reduce the chances of a stroke by limiting inflammation in the brain's blood vessels. It can also act against the activation of platelets that might otherwise form dangerous blood clots.1

In addition, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have found that sulforaphane interacts with a protein in the body called NRF2 to protect both brain cells and the rest of the central nervous system from harmful oxidative stress and inflammation.2

And research in Belgium and Asia demonstrates that sulforaphane helps promote the immune system's elimination of destructive protein residues in the brain that might otherwise make you vulnerable to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.3,4

Additionally, studies at Johns Hopkins indicate that this natural compound may help to alleviate the brain chemical imbalance that occurs during schizophrenia.5

Helps heart pump blood

As for your heart, studies show sulforaphane can push the mitochondria in the heart muscle to perform more effectively in providing cellular energy for pumping blood through the body.6

Plus, Brazilian researchers have demonstrated that this phytochemical can reduce destructive oxidative stress in cardiomyocytes, the heart cells that coordinate the way the heart pumps blood.7

A secret weapon against diabetes

Lab tests at Johns Hopkins have uncovered evidence that sulforaphane can help keep blood sugar down by limiting how much glucose is produced by the liver. And then when the Hopkins researchers fed broccoli sprouts to 97 people with diabetes for 12 weeks, they found that blood sugar levels improved significantly for the people in the study.8

In addition, research in the Middle East shows that other chemicals in these vegetables can lower the risk of kidney damage in folks with diabetes (about 24 percent of diabetics lose kidney function and need dialysis) and may also reverse diabetes-related kidney damage.9

Furthermore, other tests demonstrate that these phytochemicals can help the body resist developing a fatty liver—a condition affecting more and more Americans.10

Since research now shows that the natural chemicals in cruciferous vegetables support the processes in your body that keep blood sugar under control, if you have diabetes, or even if you just want to keep from getting the disease, these veggies should be on your daily menu.

A wide range of vegetables

I have to admit that when I began to do research into the health benefits of broccoli and the other cruciferous vegetables, I wasn't prepared to find as many as I did!

There's even ongoing studies into how 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM), another compound in these foods, can be used to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria and speed wound healing.11

Adding more cruciferous vegetables to your diet

One of the great things about this family of vegetables is that if you want to start eating them, there's a wide variety available to fit your taste preferences. You can choose from broccoli, watercress, arugula, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, kale and bok choy.

When you eat these veggies, make sure you consume some of them raw. A study in The Netherlands found that when folks ate raw broccoli they absorbed ten times as much sulforaphane as when they ate them cooked.12 And a study in England found that lightly cooked fresh broccoli contains ten times as much absorbable sulforaphane as does frozen.13 Apparently when the broccoli is blanched before food companies freeze it, that process destroys a good bit of the sulforaphane.

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