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Broccoli: Cancer Enemy

Broccoli Linked to Decreased Progression of Liver Cancer 

At only 50 calories per serving, broccoli is packed with fiber, folate and vitamins A, C, and K. Still not convinced to pile broccoli onto your plate? Two recent studies point to this green vegetable as a potential defense against cancer. 

In a 2015 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers from the University of Illinois fed mice one of four diets: a control diet or a Western diet (high in fat and sugar), with or without broccoli. Six months later, they analyzed the mice’s livers for fat buildup and tumor development, finding the mice that ate broccoli had lower liver triglycerides, less liver damage and slower progression of tumor development. 

A different 2015 study out of Oregon looked at the effects of sulforaphane, a compound derived from broccoli, on breast cancer progression. Fifty-four women with abnormal mammograms received either broccoli seed extract containing sulforaphane (equating to about one cup of broccoli sprouts per day) or a placebo for eight weeks. Those who received the broccoli supplement showed slower cancer cell growth and reduced activity of HDAC enzymes, an effect that helps suppress tumors. 

Fitting broccoli into your daily diet is easier than you think. Broccoli can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, grilled, roasted or blanched. Enjoy it as a side dish with grilled fish, eat as a snack dipped in hummus, or toss it with whole-grain pasta and pesto. For a fun and festive side dish, try our Broccoli and Fruit Slaw made with strawberries, bananas, grapes and celery. 

BONUS: Broccoli may also protect blood vessels from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, according to British researchers. 

Published May 1, 2016

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