8 ways broccoli keeps you healthy

* BUILDS BETTER BONES - You probably never imagined broccoli could battle osteoporosis, but it’s got plenty of calcium, potassium, and magnesium - nutrients that may help prevent of slow this bone-breaking disease. It’s also one of the few nondairy foods full of calcium that your body can absorb easily. Vegetarians and people who are lactose intolerant may find broccoli an important addition to their daily menu.


* KEEPS VISION KEEN - You want to keep the world around you sharp and clear for as long as possible. That’s why you should start protecting yourself against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration right now. One way is to make sure broccoli is on your shopping list. This cruciferous vegetable is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that may lower your risk of developing both these vision thieves. According to research, broccoli and spinach are the best foods for the job and the more you eat, the higher your protection.

* CLOSES DOWN PROSTATE CANCER - Tomatoes aren’t the only food to protect your prostate. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts can swing the odds in your favor. Eat three servings of these veggies every week and research shows you could just about cut your risk of prostate cancer in half.

* BATTLES BREAST CANCER - If you’re a woman, you really only need one reason to add broccoli to your diet - breast cancer. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley claim a natural element in broccoli, called indole-3-carbinol, can stop the growth of breast cancer cells. Leonard F. Bjeldanes, professor of toxicology in the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley says, “Indole-3-carbinol hit’s the cancer from a different angle than other anticancer drugs, which makes it a very powerful and interesting chemical.” Not only is broccoli a fresh and tasty addition to your menu, but it looks like a true healing food as well.

* IMPROVES HEART HEALTH - Vegetables are good for your heart because they’re low in fat and have no cholesterol. But broccoli, in particular, is one of the superstar heart protectors because of its well-rounded nutritional qualities. It’s rich in folate, a B vitamin that fights the artery-damaging amino acid homocysteine, and it’s also jampacked with those natural chemicals called falconoid. These protect your blood and arteries from clotting, oxidation and inflammation.

* BALANCES OUT BLOOD PRESSURE - Think sodium and think high blood pressure. Think broccoli and think potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and magnesium, four of the “good guy” nutrients that help control blood pressure. The famous DASH diet, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health, is designed to bring blood pressure - and the risk of heart disease and stroke - down. It recommends eating whole foods chock-full of these good guys.

* LOWERS LUNG CANCER RISK - Certain chemicals in broccoli, cabbage, and bok choy, called isothiocyanates, limit DNA damage and urge your body to produce cancer-fighting antioxidants. If you smoke, you are, of course, more likely to develop lung cancer and eating broccoli may only make a small difference. But if you are truly ready to launch an attack on lunge cancer, put out the cigarettes and dish up the vegetables.

* CRUSHES COLON CANCER - Antioxidants are probably the most powerful natural weapon you have against cancer. And lutein, an antioxidant in broccoli and other vegetables, means business when it comes to colon cancer. Researchers can’t say exactly why, but if you eat foods high in lutein, you’re less likely to develop colon cancer.


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