Everyone remembers President Bushs least favorite vegetable, but little did he know what he was missing!
Broccoli has so many accolades, its hard to pick just one. Its a great source of both vitamin C and calcium, is rich in fiber, is low calorie, and can be eaten raw or cooked. But the its most impressive benefits come from DIM.
Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a plant-compound found in Brassica veggies like broccoli. When you eat these foods, the chewing process releases plant enzymes, which in turn create a phytochemical known as indole-3-carbinol (I3C). DIM is formed directly from I3C in the acidic environment of the stomach.
Originally, researchers looked to I3C for cancer-preventive benefits. However, they found it was unpredictable, reacted erratically during digestion, and was completely ineffectual until it was converted into DIM. Based on this data, researchers then turned their attention to DIM and found that it was highly stable, required no conversion, and promoted beneficial estrogen metabolism.
In fact, research has shown that when DIM is ingested, it not only encourages its own metabolism, but that of estrogen. While it is not an estrogen or even an estrogen-mimic, its metabolic pathway exactly coincides with the metabolic pathway of estrogen.
When these pathways intersect, DIM favorably adjusts the estrogen metabolic pathways by simultaneously increasing the good estrogen metabolites and decreasing the bad estrogen metabolites. And this is bad news for cancer.
In a 2001 study, researchers looked at the dietary habits of postmenopausal Swedish women aged 50 to 74. When asked how often, on average, they consumed a wide variety of foods, including 19 different commonly eaten fruits and vegetables, researchers found that those women who ate 1 to 2 servings of Brassica foods a day had a 20 to 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those women who ate virtually none.
Additionally, a 2002 study from Biochemical Pharmacology found that DIM may have another intriguing benefit. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that DIM not only blocked DNA synthesis in human breast cancer cells, but also stopped the cells from spreading. They discovered that DIM also caused the cancerous cells to die.
In short, get that broccoli! Whether you enjoy raw with hummus, as part of a salad, or steamed with chicken or fish, broccoli is a natural choice.
For more great nutrition tips, visit Dr. Larks Web site.