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What's Beneficial About Broccoli and Cauliflower?

broccoli.jpgBroccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables can provide you with cholesterol-lowering benefits. They are especially helpful if cooked by steaming. The fiber-related components in vegetables do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they've been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it's easier for bile acids to be excreted and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw vegetables have cholesterol-lowering effects but not quite as much.  It is important not to over steam (5 minutes) or over cook vegetables to where they are mushy, as you lose much of the value and taste.

The cruciferous vegetables have a strong, positive impact on the body's detoxification system.  Researchers continue to identify key reasons for this detox benefit.

Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in special combinations of these vegetables. This dynamic trio is able to support all steps in the body's detox process, including activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are the detox-regulating molecules made from glucosinolates. Research shows they help control the detox process at a genetic level. 

We continue to read that vitamin D deficiency is almost epidemic. A large amount of any nutrient supplemented can create an imbalance in other nutrients.  Cruciferous vegetables supply vitamin K and vitamin A, which helps keep our vitamin D metabolism in balance. Broccoli has an unusually strong combination of both vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene and vitamin K.

Broccoli is also particularly rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol. Recent research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. Kaempferol helps to yield an anti-inflammatory benefit. Cruciferous vegetables can be included in most hypoallergenic diets. 
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