Maximizing Broccoli’s Cancer-Fighting Potential


Ugh. My mother was right when she told me to eat my broccoli, kale, collard greens, and cabbage. We believe that diet can influence your risk of getting cancer. Consumption of the so-called cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of prostate, colon, breast lung, and skin cancers.

How Does Broccoli Lower Cancer Risk? In that super food, glucosinolates (GSs) and the substances that are left behind when GSs are broken down can boost the levels of a broccoli enzyme that helps rid the body of carcinogens. What is new is that reearchers sprayed a plant hormone called methyl jasmonate on broccoli. Jasmonate is a natural hormone that protects plants againsts pests.

Researchers found that sulforaphane is the major contributor to enhancing cancer-fighting enzyme levels. Environmental conditions played a role, too. The investigators believe that this information may be used to identify superior types of broccoli and to breed even more healthful broccoli plants. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter, and even though I don’t love broccoli, I’ll be adding a bit to my lung today!

Action Point: As little as three to five servings of broccoli a week provides some protection against cancer. This is not true for frozen broccoli, but scientists are developing techniques to make frozen as nutritious as fresh (by blanching broccoli at a slightly lower temperature than industry standard (University of Illinois, 2013: Dosz EB and Jeffery EH. Journal of Food Science 2013).

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minuteable now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

Reference: Kang Mo Ku, et al. J Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2013.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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