Food as medicine - broccoli

Autumn is now well underway and in the UK broccoli is in season. For me this gorgeous greeen vegetable  goes beyond food into medicine. The medicinal properties of broccoli have been well documented and this is backed up by current research into the beneficial effects of broccoli on health.

All plant life is composed of a complex mix of naturally occurring compounds and chemicals. However, broccoli stands above the rest for the spectacular range of health benefits that eating it offers to us on a plate. This is due to  a potent mix of  disease fighting compounds such as, amongst other things,  anti-oxididants, vit C, quercetin and so much more.

As a result nature provides us with a vegetable which has anti-ageing, anti-viral and immunity boosting effects. Also, Broccoli compounds have proven  anti-cancer activities and specifically has been seen to be effective against lung and colon cancers. For women over 40 it's useful to know that,  as with other cruciferous veg, broccoli can help prevent breast cancer by eliminating oestrogen from the body.

Broccoli is also high in water soluble fibre, which makes it great for anyone wanting to loose weight.

Another perhaps lesser known compound in broccoli is chromium, which helps to regulate insulin and blood sugar. Get this right and you will go a long way to achieving optimum health, with effective weight control. More recently there have been some studies that have demonstrated the important relationship between insulin levels and inflammation. Arthritis UK have joined the debate with a heartening article  about the health benefits of broccoli on pain prevention in osteoarthritis.

So, if you have an inflammatory condition affecting the joints and you are looking for alternatives to pain relieving medication then include lots of broccoli in your diet and see what happens!

I  use masses of broccoli in soups, stews and stir-fries. However, cooking diminishes these amazing health benefits. Therefore, it's best eaten raw or lightly stir-fried with maybe ginger. So, if you haven't already got one, get a wok!

Broccoli is not just for the plate though and, for the ultimate health drink, raw broccoli can be juiced with other raw vegetables. It's an acquired taste but provides super health giving energy. I urge you to give it a try. Enjoy!

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