The one food that fights both cancer and stroke

“Eat your veggies,” moms across America have been saying for years. I still have that mantra ingrained in my head.

And time has proven them right. If your diet is lacking in vegetables, the dangers are real.

One class of vegetables, in particular, contains a potent ingredient known to prevent cancer.

And now, there’s yet another way that this natural compound could save your life…

The magic in broccoli

Of all the veggies in the Brassicaceae family, commonly called cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is probably the one you’re most familiar with.

But other veggies also belong to this family, including:

  • kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • cabbage
  • arugula
  • watercress

All members of this family are rich in sulforaphane, a natural compound with amazing powers.

Sulforaphane is known to prevent or alleviate some pretty horrible conditions: breast cancer, fatty liver disease and liver cancer, breast and prostate cancer, and kidney damage due to diabetes.

Sulforaphane has even been shown to keep the COVID-19 virus from reproducing.

Now we can add blood clots and strokes to that list…

Sulforaphane modifies proteins to prevent clotting

Researchers led by a team from the University of Sydney in Australia conducted a series of lab tests on 23 compounds commonly found in plants.

The purpose: to see which, if any, might have a stronger tendency to bond with blood platelets and prevent them from sticking together to form deadly blood clots.

They discovered that sulforaphane modifies the activity of a protein called PDIA6. This slows platelet clumping, keeping clots from forming as easily.

“Not only is the broccoli compound effective in improving the performance of clot-busting medication after a stroke, it could be used as a preventative agent for patients who are at a high risk of stroke,” says biomedical scientist Xuyu Liu from the University of Sydney.

Don’t cook the sulforaphane out of your veggies

Raw broccoli will give you the most sulforaphane. But if you prefer your broccoli stir-fried, you can still get the benefits of sulforaphane… if you’re willing to put in a little time.

You see, plants like broccoli have evolved to contain the enzyme myrosinase to defend themselves against herbivores (plant-eating animals). When myrosinase goes into action, it transforms other compounds into, you guessed it, sulforaphane.

So, to release more of the sulforaphane in the broccoli we eat, we need to do physical damage to the broccoli, much like what would happen to it if an animal in the wild came along and started munching on it.

Researchers pulverized broccoli into 2-mm pieces, then divided the bits into three groups.

One was left raw, and one was stir-fried right after it was chopped.

The third was allowed to “rest” for 90 minutes before it was stir-fried.

The “rested” broccoli bits had three times more sulforaphane than either of the other two groups.

Another option for getting more sulforaphane is to eat young broccoli sprouts, known as broccolini — when you see it in the produce aisle, it resembles baby broccoli.

Broccolini has 20 to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli plants.

Take your pick. Just make sure you’re eating this powerful veggie regularly.

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Broccoli’s Anti-Cancer Compound Could Have a Whole Other Health Benefit — Science Alert

Integrating Phenotypic and Chemoproteomic Approaches to Identify Covalent Targets of Dietary Electrophiles in Platelets — ACS Central Science

Health Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables — Web MD

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.