Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Week 29 Nutrition Tip: Get More Broccoli

When it comes to nutrition, broccoli is about as non-sexy as you can get. In news media, broccoli always takes a back seat to more popular "superfoods" such as red wine or chocolate and lacks the exotic appeal of trendy foods such as acai and goji berries. As a result, broccoli can often go off your radar. This is especially true if you were "traumatized" as a kid by being forced to eat all your cold, slimy broccoli before you could leave the dinner table. Well, your mom was right about trying to get you to eat your broccoli. This old-school green vegetable is a nutrient superstar and if you are not eating it regularly, you are missing out big-time! Therefore in week 29 of our 52 Weeks to Better Nutrition and New You series, it is time to up the broccoli!
Broccoli's Nutrient Highlight Stats (per cup)
  • Calories: 31 - great for those on a fat loss plan
  • Protein: 3g - no worries, you can get your protein elsewhere 
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbs: 6g (2 are fiber) - great for those on a low-carb diet 
Vitamins & Minerals Highlights (per cup)
  • Vitamin C: 81.2mg which is 135% of your daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin K: 92.5mcg (116% of DV)
  • Calcium: 42.8mg (4% DV)
  • Iron: 0.7mg (4% DV)
  • Potassium: 288mg (8%DV)
  • Selenium: 2.3mcg (3%DV) - great antioxidant
Health Benefits of Broccoli
  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer)
  • Inhibits bladder cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Inhibit prostate cancer
  • Decrease estrogen (good for breast cancer in women and guys in general)
  • Reduced risk of cervical cancer
  • and much more...
Cooking & Storing Methods:
Raw diets are quite popular now and you can definitely eat your broccoli raw. However, pay attention to how you feel with this. Personally, I never eat raw broccoli as it irritates my digestive system. Does that mean I'm missing out on the health benefits? Apparently not. Research shows that both steaming and drying increase the antioxidant activity of broccoli (which is believed to be due to increasing the extractability of the antioxidants). However, research also shows that boiling (which is also not as tasty) and freezing diminishes the polyphenols (those health-promoting compounds in plants) concentration. Also, freezing turns broccoli into mush - trust me I mistakenly put fresh raw broccoli in the freezer instead of the fridge once.  

The Practical Application:
This week's habit starts with ensuring that you have broccoli in your house. If not, hit a farm market or local grocery store and load up! Then, set a goal of having 1 cup of broccoli for at least 3 meals this week. 
There are many great ways to eat broccoli. Here are a few examples:
  • Try raw (if you can tolerate it) as a snack with  humus or natural nut butters
  • Steam on its own or with a variety of other vegetables (click HERE for details) then add olive oil and seasonings. 
  • Enjoy in stir fries (on occasion)


References:
Abbaoui B; Riedl KM; Ralston RA; Thomas-Ahner JM; Schwartz SJ; Clinton SK; Mortazavi A. Inhibition of bladder cancer by broccoli isothiocyanates sulforaphane and erucin: characterization, metabolism, and interconversion. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. ISSN: 1613-4133, 2012 Nov; Vol. 56 (11), pp. 1675-87; PMID: 23038615.

Aires A; Fernandes C; Carvalho R; Bennett RN; Saavedra MJ; Rosa EA. Seasonal effects on bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity of six economically important brassica vegetables.  Molecules. ISSN: 1420-3049, 2011 Aug 10; Vol. 16 (8), pp. 6816-32; PMID: 21832972.

Ferguson LR; Schlothauer RC. The potential role of nutritional genomics tools in validating high health foods for cancer control: broccoli as example. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. ISSN: 1613-4133, 2012 Jan; Vol. 56 (1), pp. 126-46; PMID: 22147677.

Gullett NP; Ruhul Amin AR; Bayraktar S; Pezzuto JM; Shin DM; Khuri FR; Aggarwal BB; Surh YJ; Kucuk O. Cancer prevention with natural compounds. Seminars In Oncology. ISSN: 1532-8708, 2010 Jun; Vol. 37 (3), pp. 258-81; PMID: 20709209.

Mahn A; Reyes A. An overview of health-promoting compounds of broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) and the effect of processing. Food Science And Technology International. ISSN: 1082-0132, 2012 Dec; Vol. 18 (6), pp. 503-14; PMID: 23175779.

Marconett CN; Sundar SN; Tseng M; Tin AS; Tran KQ; Mahuron KM; Bjeldanes LF; Firestone GL. Indole-3-carbinol downregulation of telomerase gene expression requires the inhibition of estrogenreceptor-alpha and Sp1 transcription factor interactions within the hTERT promoter and mediates the G1 cell cycle arrest of human breast cancer cells. Carcinogenesis. ISSN: 1460-2180, 2011 Sep; Vol. 32 (9), pp. 1315-23; PMID: 21693539.

Nguyen HH; Lavrenov SN; Sundar SN; Nguyen DH; Tseng M; Marconett CN; Kung J; Staub RE; Preobrazhenskaya MN; Bjeldanes LF; Firestone GL. 1-Benzyl-indole-3-carbinol is a novel indole-3-carbinol derivative with significantly enhanced potency of anti-proliferative and anti-estrogenic properties in human breast cancer cells. Chemico-Biological Interactions. ISSN: 1872-7786, 2010 Aug 5; Vol. 186 (3), pp. 255-66; PMID: 20570586.

Wang TT; Schoene NW; Milner JA; Kim YS. Broccoli-derived phytochemicals indole-3-carbinol and 3,3'-diindolylmethane exerts concentration-dependent pleiotropic effects on prostate cancer cells: comparison with other cancer preventive phytochemicals. Molecular Carcinogenesis. ISSN: 1098-2744, 2012 Mar; Vol. 51 (3), pp. 244-56; PMID: 21520295.

www.nutritiondata.self.com (for nutritional information)

In case you have missed any of the previous habits in this series, check out the links below:
Week 28: Food Logging for Body Composition
Week 27: Eggs
Week 24: Farm Markets
Week 23: Restuarant Guide 
Week 22: Eat Natural

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