Broccoli

Boring? Bitter? Bury it under cheese sauce and hope the kids don’t realize what they’re eating?

If the end of dinner finds your plate empty except for three sad broccoli florets carefully cleaned of cheese sauce, maybe it’s time to leave the broccoli in the produce aisle and head to the vitamin section of the grocery store. 

If broccoli were the New England Patriots, sulforaphane would be Tom Brady. Sulforaphane is the main reason your mom told you to eat your broccoli. Sulforaphane is the chemical in broccoli that helps fight cancer by setting into motion the genetic pathway, NRF2, a process that promotes the creation of antioxidants in your body. When injury and inflammation trigger oxidative damage to our cells, we need antioxidants for protection. NRF2 (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2) may be the most important regulator of the antioxidant defense system. (I would apply another football analogy here but who can remember the names of any of the defensive linemen who, channeling the original middle Brady kid, stomp their feet and lament, “Brady, Brady, Brady!” as they play in the shadow of Tom?) There is also promising data suggesting that sulforaphane may improve social interactional skills in children with autism spectrum disorders. 

Sulforaphane is available as a dietary supplement at your health food stores and certain grocery stores. If you want more information, try Pubmed. They have published close to 2,000 articles on sulforaphane.

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