Quit Sake-Bombing Your Guts And Eat Your Broccoli Instead!:
So unfortunately in the health & wellness space, the term Superfood is as overused as a pair of gas station flip-flops in the southern US.
Especially after the blow-up of Açaí failing to triple your metabolism and burn off all your fat just because it’s from Brazil.
So sometimes we can be a little bit wary of using an overused term.
But ever since we found out An Apple A Day really does keep the doctor away, some of the advice we would’ve gotten from Mom about things like eating our vegetables doesn’t seem that far off-base anymore.
And as SCIENCE gets weirder and more in-depth, it too is finding out that once again, Mom was right.
In the case of Broccoli, this might actually make a huge difference…
The Short Answer:
- The term Superfood is a little overused.
- But maybe in a few cases it is right.
- Perhaps traditional wisdom on nutrition is pretty good, too.
- Most things considered superfoods have a lot of good stuff in a small space.
- Walnuts & Blueberries are two good examples.
- Most of Broccoli’s benefits have been chalked-up to the sulphur-compounds in it.
- PSU researchers have found other compounds in it, called AHRLs that might be even more powerful.
- Lab mice given the human equivalent of 3.5 cups/day had much healthier intestinal function and lower disease precursors.
- The team found that AHRLs made 3 different types of cells in the GI tract function much better.
- As a result, the mice eating it were much healthier.
- There are at least 10 other benefits associated with broccoli.
- These range from lower rates of serious disease to improved eye health and slower aging.
- There are so many benefits that come from Broccoli, it might deserve to be called a superfood.
- Remember to tell the people stuck in an elevator with you how healthy you must be.
Read on to find out the details…
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So a “Superfood” is normally defined as something that doesn’t just have run-of-the mill nutritional value.
It isn’t just there for calories, vitamins, & minerals. It has a high density of very helpful stuff with an outsized set of effects for what you take in.
For example, of all the foods that have flavonoids in them, Blueberries are probably the highest in concentration.
Or out of all the different types of nuts, Walnuts have the highest amount of good things in them, some that others don’t have at all.
If the recent work is to be believed, Apples, Blueberries, and Walnuts may have some company in the Superfood category.
Because researchers at Penn State are finding out there’s more to Broccoli than they may have thought.
It used to be that almost all of it’s superpowers were chalked-up to its sulphur-based compounds like Sulphoraphane.
Many of these were even found to have some kind of association with reduction in serious diseases.
In a way that’s similar to the post on Gut Microbes Vs. Alcohol, the PSU team is finding out that Broccoli’s superpowers live mostly in your gut.
So in a test of mice eating the human equivalent of 3.5 cups of broccoli/day -which is kind of a lot,
(no implication that you’d have to eat quite this much though)
The researchers tested them against those with standard diets of no broccoli at all.
They found that three different cell types functioned worse without it, and less benefits were extracted from the food they ate.
The worst part about it is the doctors went on to say that these functions were all indicative of an environment that promotes increased rates of disease.
Because the team found out broccoli has yet another awesome chemical trick up it’s sleeve!
In addition to sulphoraphane, it has yet another type of substance called an AHRL.
AHRLs are so powerful, they’re even being researched for use against breast-cancer!
This stuff makes those 3 different types of cells in the walls of your GI tract work much better than “normal”.
So much so, that it even makes your immune-system function in a better way, too.
These types of cells do all kinds of things like absorbing water & nutritional components, protecting the integrity of the structure, and making enzymes to get the most out of the food you eat.
And just like the post mentioned about alcohol, somehow they help your body absorb all the right stuff, while keeping all the bacteria and other things in your GI tract.
That way, you are much healthier from the inside-out, and spare yourself potentially massive inflammation.
On that note, let’s revisit what happens if something goes wrong, using the alcohol gut-microbes post as a template.
In that piece, we found out that although it doesn’t kill your microbes, it does get past your stomach in some quantities if you drink enough in a short period of time, and that’s where the real show begins.
Because from there, it causes micro-pores to develop in your intestinal wall and releases something called “endotoxin” into your body.
This stuff is normally supposed to be kept inside your guts, but those micropores let it out.
From there, you get a systemic inflammation response that leads to many different bummers.
Your immune system is going to go bonkers and surround the stuff that’s leaking out.
Paging Dr. Josh Axe! Paging Dr. Josh Axe! Somebody just hinted at “Leaky Gut”!!!
You will not only feel pretty crappy, but you’ll probably have a not-insignificant headache to show for it.
And your liver will probably develop some kind of micro-scarring, because it has to clean up things that it would not normally.
So overall, not great.
On the flip-side, Broccoli has been associated with some other benefits as well:
1) Association with reduced rates of serious disease and diabetes
2) Anti-inflammatory properties through a flavonoid called Kaempferol
3) Lower “bad” cholesterol and higher good cholesterol levels in one study
4) Reduced cognitive decline and improved brain function with age across 3 factors
5) Slower rates of aging as a result of sulfur compounds
6) Improved immune function from Vitamin C
7) Stronger bones & joints
8) Possible protection from some UV radiation from the Sun
9) Anti-oxidant properties through sulfur compounds supporting production of Glutathione
10) Improved eye health
There is a chance that many of those benefits can be written down to something different than AHRLs, too
Just like the flavonoid superpost might lead you to believe, AHRLs are found in other foods.
But so far, the ones with the most powerful amounts found are Broccoli, Cabbage, & Brussels Sprouts.
Now we know that the colleagues stuck in the elevator with you for 20 floors might not thank you for eating them, but your guts certainly will.
As a result, you will be giving yourself about 5 different benefits not counting the 10 on that recent list.
So incensed-colleagues or not, I think we can safely say that sulfur-bearing vegetables like broccoli really do deserve their place on the list of superfoods.