Why do parents force their kids to eat broccoli? Well, everybody knows that broccoli is considered one of those healthy, “dark, leafy green” vegetables, that have an abundance of vitamins and minerals, but is there something more to this familiar green? While broccoli is considered a rich source of vitamins K and C, it is also part of a unique group of foods known as cruciferous vegetables, which have been well researched in the field of cancer prevention.
Let’s break it down. Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, contain specific compounds called glucosinolates. When broken down by the enzymes in your body, one particular glucosinolate, called glycobrassicin (stay with me!), yields a very unique compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Once I3C is exposed to stomach acid, it’s metabolized and converted into diindolemethane (DIM), the most biologically active ingredient found in broccoli. I3C, and in turn, DIM are the key components responsible for the possible anti-cancer activity of broccoli.
Not only does broccoli contain these key-antioxidant nutrients, but, thanks to DIM, broccoli may also help to sustain intestinal immune function, helping to defend against pathogens and harmful gut bacteria that can make you sick. After all, you’re only as healthy as your gut, so eating broccoli may help to keep your gut healthy and your immune system strong.
Of course, consuming raw cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, is the best way to ensure adequate amounts of dietary I3C and DIM. However, since some people may experience digestive discomfort and flatulence while consuming a higher volume of these vegetables, good quality nutritional supplements can provide you with a healthy alternative, without the off-putting side effects.
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