5 Health Benefits of Broccoli

5 Health Benefits of Broccoli

Cancer, osteoarthritis, autism …. Broccoli has many health benefits thanks to a molecule, sulforaphane.
5 Health Benefits of Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains many compounds of interest to our health: vitamin C, antioxidants, glucosinolates. When broccoli is squashed, the glucosinolates are converted by the enzyme myrosinase into isothiocyanatesincluding sulforaphane. Isothiocyanates are best known for their anti-toxic and antioxidant effects: they inhibit enzymes that can transform feed compounds into toxic and carcinogenic substances and at the same time stimulate enzymes responsible for neutralizing and eliminating these substances To the key an antioxidant effect). Thanks to its composition and particularly its sulforaphane content, broccoli has many advantages. We tell you which ones.

An asset against cancer (prostate, colon, breast and liver)

Epidemiological studies show that regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli (3 to 5 times per week), decreases the risk of a number of cancers including breast, prostate and colon . In fact, the anticancer properties of vegetables appear to be largely due to the cruciferous family alone.

The Western high sugar diet is associated with an increased accumulation of body fat which in turn increases the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Without treatment non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can progress to liver cancer.

Previous studies have shown that broccoli reduces the accumulation of triglycerides in the liver of mice subjected to foods high in fats and sugars, suggesting that this vegetable could protect against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Mice that follow a western diet rich in fats and sugars have more cancerous nodules in the liver and larger sizes than the control group mice. But, when broccoli is added to the diet the number of nodules decreases. In addition, broccoli reduces the absorption of fat in the liver.

Hope in Autism

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that in young people with autism spectrum disorder, sulforaphane improves certain behavioral disorders related to the disease, such as social interaction and verbal communication.

In this study, researchers administered sulforaphane from broccoli to 29 young men (ages 13 to 27 years) with autism spectrum disorders daily for 18 weeks and orally. The control group (15 participants) received a placebo.

After 4 weeks of treatment with sulforaphane, improvements already appear and continue to increase until the end of the procedure. After 18 weeks of treatment, the tests carried out by the participants show a behavioral improvement especially on parameters such as lethargy, irritability, hyperactivity, communication and motivation. The researchers noted that after discontinuation of sulforaphane therapy, test scores tend to return to baseline levels (prior to surgery).

In the group that took sulforaphane, after 18 weeks of treatment, researchers observed a significant improvement in social interaction for 46% of them, with aberrant behaviors in 54% of them and At the level of verbal communication for 42% of them.

To detoxify

The pollutants we inhale or ingest have adverse effects on our health, with an increased risk of lung cancer and cardiopulmonary disease. However, the daily consumption of broccoli drinks increases the excretion rates in the urine of two harmful chemicals: acrolein and benzene, two pervasive pollutants in our environment.

In this randomized clinical trial, researchers investigated the effect of broccoli on urinary excretion rates of benzene and acrolein. For this, 291 Chinese adults living in a highly polluted area received either a broccoli-based beverage enriched with glucoraphanin and sulforaphane or a placebo every day for 12 weeks. Their urine was analyzed weekly.

The results show that in the participants who consume the broccoli drink, the benzene excretion rate increases by almost 61%, that of acrolein by 23% compared to the beginning of the study, before the intervention. The effect is the same throughout the study.

It should be noted, however, that the doses of glucoraphanin and sulforaphane used in this study are higher than those that a consumer of broccoli could ingest. The authors emphasize the need to carry out studies to evaluate the efficacy of these compounds at lower doses.

Against osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a rheumatic disease caused by degradation of joint cartilage; Increasingly common with age, it leads to disabling chronic pain. British researchers have shown that sulforaphane that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties could help fight osteoarthritis.

To find out if the molecule was effective against joint problems, researchers fed mice with a diet rich in sulforaphane. They then observed that these mice had less cartilage damage and were less likely to develop osteoarthritis than control mice. From a molecular point of view, sulforaphane inhibits the expression of cartilage degradation enzymes; It intervenes in signaling pathways involved in several chronic diseases.

Since sulforaphane prevents degradation of the cartilage, it could prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

Broccoli to live longer

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, followers of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli but also cabbage, brussel cabbage, cauliflower … would live longer and would be less likely to die from cardiovascular disease Than people who consume little.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University (USA) and the Shanghai Cancer Institute (China) analyzed data from 61,436 men followed for 4.6 years and 73,360 women followed for 10.2 years. Participants completed a food questionnaire assessing their consumption of fruits and vegetables.

For those who consume the most cruciferous vegetables, the risk of premature death (whatever the cause) is reduced by 22% and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease is reduced by 31%.

We advise you to eat two to three times a week of broccoli or foods of the same family (cruciferous): cabbage, radishes, turnips, watercress … Better to consume cruciferous raw (cabbage, turnips) or little cooked (Al dente) because high temperatures destroy glucosinolates and inhibit myrosinase activity.


Y.-J. Chen, M. A. Wallig, E. H. Jeffery. Dietary Broccoli Lessens Development of Fatty Liver and Liver Cancer in Mice Given Diethylnitrosamine and Fed a Western or Control Diet. Journal of Nutrition, 2016; 146 (3): 542 DOI: 10.3945/jn.115.228148

Singh K, Connors SL, Macklin EA, Smith KD, Fahey JW, Talalay P, Zimmerman AW. Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Oct 13. pii: 201416940. [Epub ahead of print]

Egner PA, Chen JG, Zarth AT, Ng D, Wang J, Kensler KH, Jacobson LP, Munoz A, Johnson JL, Groopman JD, Fahey JW, Talalay P, Zhu J, Chen TY, Qian GS, Carmella SG, Hecht SS, Kensler TW. Rapid and Sustainable Detoxication of Airborne Pollutants by Broccoli Sprout Beverage: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial in China. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 Jun 9. pii: canprevres.0103.2014.

Davidson RK, Jupp O, de Ferrars R, Kay CD, Culley KL, Norton R, Driscoll C, Vincent TL, Donell ST, Bao Y, Clark IM. Sulforaphane represses matrix-degrading proteases and protects cartilage from destruction in vitro and in vivo. Arthritis Rheum. 2013 Aug 27. doi: 10.1002/art.38133.

Xianglan Zhang, Xiao-Ou Shu, Yong-Bing Xiang, Gong Yang, Honglan Li, Jing Gao, Hui Cai, Yu-Tang Gao, Wei Zheng; Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr July 2011.



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