While you may not see, or even sense, their presence, your daily environment is ripe with toxins and pollutants, some of which pose a grave risk to your health and wellbeing. A simple family barbecue, for example, can expose your body to a higher risk for cancer. Airborne pollutants in outside and inside environments can take a silent toll on health.
So how can you help detoxify your life? The answer may surprise you, but scientists believe that natural compounds found in broccoli may increase the ability of cells to adapt to and survive a wide range of environmental toxins – and that those healthy effects may have some staying power.
Protect yourself from the cancer risk of eating cooked meats
The supporting evidence for broccoli’s detoxification attributes can be found in a growing mountain of studies. One study found that post-menopausal women increased their risk for breast cancer when consuming greater than average amounts of barbecued, grilled and smoked meats. However, the risk was somewhat diminished among those who consumed greater amounts of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, known to boost the activity of detoxifying enzymes in the liver.
Building on this research, scientists found that consuming broccoli not only reduced the amount of carcinogens currently consumed, but that the lasting protective effects of broccoli were found in study subjects two weeks later, when grilled meats were consumed without broccoli.
Scientific evidence of broccoli’s ability to combat known pollutants
The benefits of broccoli for detoxification purposes extends beyond protection from carcinogen exposure due to cooked and smoked meats, however. It has been identified as a detoxifying force against other toxins as well, including air pollutants.
This is critical since a World Health Organization study has determined that about one in eight deaths worldwide can be attributed to exposure to air pollution. Pollutants in the air have been linked to decreased lung function, increased incidence of heart attack, increased occurrence of asthma, and a heightened risk for other types of lung and heart disease.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted a study on 291 participants living in a rural farming community about 50 miles north of Shanghai in one of the most heavily industrialized regions of China. Urine and blood samples were used before and after the trial to assess levels of inhaled pollutants.
Split into two groups, the control group consumed a beverage containing sterilized water, pineapple and lime juice. The treatment group consumed the same beverage, but with an additional freeze-dried powder made from broccoli sprouts dissolved into the drink. Broccoli sprouts are particularly high in the natural compounds glucoraphanin and sulforaphane.
The study’s findings show that those in the treatment group exhibited a 61 percent increased rate of excreting the carcinogen benzene, beginning with day one and continuing throughout the 12 weeks of the study. Their rate of excreting the pollutant acrolein was 23 percent better than the control group. The researchers concluded that broccoli is likely to have a similar effect in reducing risks from food and water contaminants as well.
Eating broccoli will greatly improve your detoxification pathways
Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on your body’s detoxification system. Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin have been identified by scientists as the three glucosinolate phytonutrients found in aspecial combination in broccoli that are particularly beneficial as detoxification agents. The trio is able to enhance all steps in the body’s natural detoxification process, including activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants.
While it’s hard to beat broccoli’s nutritional advantages, you can concentrate them by eating broccoli sprouts. Broccoli sprouts can contain up to 50 times the level of some of the antioxidants found in full-grown broccoli. Sprouts are a particularly excellent source of sulforaphane glucosinolate and indole-3-carbinol, known for their protective effects against carcinogens.
In addition to its detoxification benefits, broccoli is known to provide other healthy advantages, including digestive support, reduction of inflammation, resistance to harmful bacteria, support for a healthy cardiovascular system, protection against cataracts, improved hormonal balance, reducing symptoms of high blood pressure, decreasing effects of asthma and allergies, supporting healthy cholesterol levels and delivering high levels of antioxidants to reduce cancer risk and promote health.