Mom Was Right: Eat Your Vegetables

Like it or not, broccoli is good for you.

This cruciferous vegetable contains a high level of glucosinolates – a class of phytochemicals – that many scientists believe can reduce the risk of prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancer.

To help people reap all the benefits of eating broccoli, researchers from Oregon State University have found that how you cook this vegetable affects its health values.

Lightly steamed or raw is the best way to eat broccoli, according to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

When broccoli is overcooked until it’s soft and mushy, the vegetable loses enzymes that help break down the glucosinolates into two important compounds – sulforaphane and erucin, according to a news release from Oregon State University.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Studies show that sulforaphane “may help detoxify carcinogens, and also activate tumor suppressor genes so they can perform their proper function,” the news release states.

Now, if you don’t like broccoli, researchers recommend eating cauliflower, cabbage, kale and other cruciferous vegetables. All of these vegetables contain glucosinolates, just not as much as broccoli does.

The same cooking guidelines apply.

Sources: Oregon State University, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

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