The elder George Bush made a very public display of hating broccoli and pouted that once he became president, no one could make him eat broccoli ever again.
It was his loss.
Maybe presidents can be exempted from eating broccoli, but there are some excellent reasons why we all should chow down on this brilliant green nutrition powerhouse. In fact, broccoli may be the single biggest health protector in the vegetable world.
The list of health benefits is almost endless. Broccoli is loaded with some of the most powerful nutrients known to humankind, many of them antioxidants, which prevent diseases related to aging. You’ve heard their names, but you may not know how power-packed they are.
This cluster of antioxidants cuts cancer risk in half when you eat four servings a week, say researchers at Johns Hopkins University, and it can even protect you from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
This detoxifier is especially effective in preventing breast and cervical cancers because it helps usher dangerous free estrogens out of your body, actually reversing early stage cervical cancers in 47% of subjects, say researchers at New York’s Institute for Preventive Oncology.
Dutch research revealed that this antioxidant slashes the risk of dying from heart disease by 42% by lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and dissolving clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes.
Eating carotenoid-rich greens like broccoli just twice a week cuts the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness, in half, say Finnish scientists.
5. Vitamin A
This multi-purpose vitamin has been study-proven to heal severe acne and other skin problems, protect your digestive and respiratory tracts and promote wound healing, healthy hair and good eyesight.
Not all carotenoids are red and bright green. Broccoli is a great source of the substance proven by Johns Hopkins University research to reduce joint deterioration from osteoarthritis by 70%.
7. Vitamin C
A great antioxidant, Vitamin C strengthens your immune system protecting you against everything from colds and flu to cancer and heart disease.
The main detoxifying agent in your body, glutathione has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer by six-fold and improve heart function by 50%.
9. Vitamin K
Helps keeps arteries clear by thinning blood, plays an important part in rebuilding bones and wipes out cells of some of the most virulent cancers: melanoma and liver cancer.
By keeping your red blood cells healthy and reproducing at optimal levels, iron is an essential mineral to banish fatigue. British research shows just getting enough iron can cut fatigue by nearly one-third.
11. Folic acid
This B-vitamin is key to preventing birth defects, promoting nervous system balance, but it’s also important in keeping your nervous system in balance. A British study shows one-third of all subjects with severe depression were deficient in folic acid.
In addition to keeping things moving smoothly through your digestive tract, a healthy amount of fiber in your diet can lower triglycerides (heart-attack inducing blood fats) by 24% and blood sugars by up to 20%.
Eat your broccoli raw or lightly steamed, since heat destroys broccoli’s nutrients. Never microwave it, since recent Finnish research shows 97% of the antioxidants are destroyed if you do.