Today’s post is about food! Yummy food! Oh and the science behind the benefits! Written by Jim Stoppani, Ph.D this article gives you the skinny on Broccoli!
Fresh Is Best
To reap all of broccoli’s health-boosting benefits, follow these shopping and preparation tips.
Broccoli has been a staple vegetable in bodybuilders’ diets for decades.
Not only is this cruciferous veggie a good low-carb fibrous vegetable, but it offers a litany of health benefits. Just some of these benefits include a reduced risk of cancer, reduced inflammation, reduced risk of heart disease, reduced risk of diabetes, and can even reduce the production of “bad” estrogens.
Most of these benefits stem from a phytonutrient in broccoli known as glucoraphanin.
When you chew broccoli, it activates the enzyme myrosinase, which converts glucoraphanin into sulforaphane. It is sulforaphane that actually provides the majority of the benefits of broccoli.
But the processing of commercially available frozen broccoli, which involves blanching the broccoli before freezing it, may inactivate the myrosinase enzyme.
So when you eat frozen broccoli, the glucoraphanin may not convert into sulforaphane and you may not get the benefits of this potent phytonutrient. At least that’s what a recent study has reported in the Journal of Functional Foods.
Researchers from the University of Illinois reported that in the three different types of commercially available frozen broccoli they tested, there was very little potential to form sulforaphane prior to cooking. And after cooking via microwave, as recommended on the package, there was no sulforaphane produced in any of the broccoli.
Jim’s take-home point:
The obvious take-home point here is to buy broccoli fresh. Preferably fresh organic broccoli as it contains more glucoraphanin than conventionally grown broccoli. When it comes to cooking, steam it, lightly sautÃ© it, or eat it raw. Research suggests that steaming broccoli increases its ability to produce sulforaphane. But never boil broccoli, as research shows that this decreases its ability to produce sulforaphane.
Dosz, E. B., et al. Commercially produced frozen broccoli lacks the ability to form sulforaphane. Journal of Functional Foods 5(2): 987-990.
Mahn, A. and Reyes, A. An overview of health-promoting compounds of broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) and the effect of processing. Food Sci Technol Int. 2012 Dec;18(6):503-14.
GliszczyÅ„ska-SwigÅ‚o, A., et al. Changes in the content of health-promoting compounds and antioxidant activity of broccoli after domestic processing. Food Addit Contam. 2006 Nov;23(11):1088-98.