Don’t Make This Cooking Mistake!
The doctors here at Root Cause Medical Clinic like to remind our patients about healthy foods, such as broccoli. Broccoli contains two very nice compounds that make it a star vegetable in the anti-cancer category, as well as a perfect addition when you want to reduce inflammation naturally. If you do not treat it properly, broccoli will hold on to these compounds, making them unable to perform their anti-cancer magic!
You need to treat your broccoli nicely. It wants to be “wooed” as it were. Poor treatment of broccoli makes it upset and it does not “give” of its healthy-bearing gifts.
Analogies aside, there’s an enzyme that must be released in order for the human body to gain all the wonderful anti-cancer benefits from broccoli. In case you’re interested, the names of these compounds are Indole 3 carbinol and sulforaphane. They not only reduce inflammation naturally but they are superstars at fighting cancer.
Broccoli has an additional benefit of helping your body accumulate selenium, a very important mineral that helps maintain a healthy brain, immune system and improves fertility for both sexes. Studies of selenium reveal it to have specific anti-cancer abilities specifically relating to the prostate. Selenium can reduce inflammation naturally as it is integral to the production of a substance that regulates inflammation, thereby making it protective against many of the degenerative diseases currently plaguing our society.
Kudos go out to Elizabeth Jeffery, Ph.D., a researcher from the University of Illinois who focuses on cancer prevention and how to reduce inflammation naturally with food. The research we’re about to discuss is from her and her team.
If you want “happy, anti-cancer producing” broccoli, DON’T DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
- Boil your broccoli
- Microwave your broccoli
- Eat frozen broccoli
Why? The enzyme that releases sulforaphane is destroyed within one minute of either microwaving or boiling. When it comes to freezing, sadly those individuals who ate the frozen variety of broccoli saw no activity from the wonderful substances that give broccoli its anti-cancer powers. The blanching that the food industry utilizes before freezing broccoli kills the enzymes needed to release the anti-cancer compounds, indole 3 carbinol, and sulforaphane. Boiling and microwaving, too, cause the destruction of this all-important enzyme.
Dr. Jeffery plans to work with the food industry to encourage improvements in the pre-freezing blanching process, in the hope that a new procedure can be developed to protect this critical enzyme and allow frozen broccoli to improve inflammation naturally. That of course is in the future, so for now, FRESH IS BEST.
Still, love your frozen broccoli? Then try this: eat radish or some wasabi with the broccoli and receive the enzyme from those foods instead. This is a cooperative effort between foods in the same family with the same enzyme. Both radish and wasabi will provide the enzyme that was destroyed in the frozen or otherwise mal-treated broccoli, allowing a release of the important compounds that help to prevent cancer. Radish is also a nice addition to any raw broccoli you like to consume. While raw organic broccoli is good for you, the addition of a little radish will enhance the presence of adequate quantities of enzymes needed to make it a superfood and improve inflammation naturally.
What’s the best way to prepare your organic broccoli?
Lightly steam it for 3-4 minutes. It will be a beautiful green color and it will still have a little “tooth” (as they say in culinary circles), meaning it’s not soft and mushy and is exactly how I’ve always recommended cooking it.
Soon, you will be able to watch my easy and fast Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe on YouTube. It’s gluten-free, vegan and you’ll learn a delicious way to enjoy all the wonderful health benefits of organic broccoli.
Is there any other way to help optimize broccoli and its anti-cancer properties?
Dr. Jeffery collaborated with John Erdman, a researcher who has focused his energies on tomatoes and the wonderful substance they contain, lycopene. Lycopene, too, is thought to have anti-cancer properties and Mr. Erdman has extensively studied its relationship to prostate cancer.
Wondering if broccoli or tomatoes had the strongest anti-cancer benefits, the two researchers combined efforts to test them alone and together. They took animals that were developing prostate cancer and subjected them to 5 different diets:
1. A rather weak lycopene supplement
2. Tomato powder with the same lycopene amount as the supplement
3. A lycopene supplement that was 10 times stronger than the weak one
4. Broccoli powder
5. Broccoli and tomato powder together
The result was 35% protection from cancer with the tomato powder, almost no effect with the weak lycopene supplement, and a modest effect with the strong lycopene supplement. This supports the notion that supplementation without consuming real, high-quality food, is not as effective if you wish to reduce inflammation naturally.
Isolated broccoli powder fared slightly better than the 35% protection from the tomato powder, but together was where they shone brightest: 52% of all prostate cancers were inhibited from the combined effects of broccoli and tomato.
Tomatoes are not nearly as fussy as broccoli when it comes to how you cook them, but since the anti-cancer substance lycopene is fat-soluble, always include a little healthy oil with your tomatoes. Remember, olive oil is wonderful, but only when drizzled over an already cooked food or with your cold food. Don’t heat it above a low heat or you’ll turn it into bad fat.
The moral of the story
When you wish to optimize your health and reduce inflammation naturally, the moral of the story, as it relates to food, is to buy fresh, healthy, organic food and do as little to it as possible. It will taste delicious and bestow upon you its most health benefits.
That’s why we’re here. Our team of doctors specializes in root cause medicine. We work to discover why your body has the symptoms that are currently bothering you. The major way to counteract the degenerative diseases so rampantly attacking our society, both young and old alike, is to reduce inflammation naturally. This isn’t difficult.
Do you need help with your health?
We have the tools to discover why you may be having trouble with a weakened immune system. It’s not difficult as long as you’re ready to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry. We will hold your hand through the changes and make each step of change an easy one.
Dr. Vikki Petersen DC. CCN
Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner
Dr Vikki Petersen is a public speaker, author of two books, several eBooks and creates cutting edge content for her YouTube community. Dr Vikki is committed to bringing Root Cause Medicine and its unique approach to restoring health naturally to the world.