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Broccoli sprouts in cancer prevention
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and in many other industrialized countries. According to Dr. Marion Nestles in Nutrition Reviews, while both early detection and treatment have made great advances in recent years, the “overall death rates from cancer have remained largely unchanged since the early 1970s, suggesting the need for a stronger research focus on prevention.”
There are various approaches for reducing the risk of cancer, including lifestyle and dietary changes. Dr. Nestle claimed that “…dietary advice to prevent cancer has emphasized fruit and vegetable consumption, and recent recommendations…give highest priority to consuming plant-based diets.”
Dr. Nestle added that “Among such plants are cruciferous (mustard family) vegetables of the genusBrassica?broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, among others.”
Cruciferous vegetables are low in fat and high in fiber, minerals, and micronutrients such as folic acid, selenium, and vitamins A, C, and E. In addition, cruciferous vegetables contain various phytochemicals, which have been shown to detoxify and protect against carcinogens?various chemicals known or believed to cause cancer in humans. Researchers have suggested that broccoli sprouts contain 10 to 100 times the amount of the phytochemicals necessary for detoxification. In addition, these phytochemicals have been shown to inhibit tumor growth in laboratory rats.
In conclusion, Dr. Nestle stated that “From the standpoint of public health policy, existing data are more than sufficient to promote greater consumption of broccoli and its sprouts along with other vegetables.”
Nutr Rev 1998;56(4 Pt 1):127-30.
Advanced Nutrition Publications ©2002