Broccoli is an edible plant with, “… a branching cluster of green flower buds atop a thick, green flower stalk, and smaller clusters that arise like "sprouts" from the stems (Stephens, 1994, p. 1).” Studies have shown that broccoli has been found to contain fiber and high amounts of vitamin K (Kendall-Reed, 2006). Broccoli also has high concentrations of vitamin C (World’s Healthiest Foods-Broccoli, 2012, para 42). Furthermore, Tjeertes (2004) states that broccoli has, “strong anti-carcinogenic properties” and as a result has high “anticancer activity”. Broccoli is beneficial to overall human health.
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Fiber is necessary for healthy functioning of the human body. Fiber is typically found in plants and “consists of nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin” and “isolated, nondigestible carbohydrates that have beneficial physiological effects in humans” (Anonymous, 2005, p. 340). Vegetables are considered to contain high, “dietary %uFB01bres [that] are believed to reduce subjective appetite, energy intake and body weight” (Wanders et al., 2011, p.1). Fiber reduces appetite and can be used to reduce weight because it can make a person feel fuller longer. Fiber can also be contributed to keeping insulin levels in the body within normal ranges and lowering bad cholesterol. Medical professionals recommend 38 grams a day for young men and 25 grams a day for young women to protect from heart disease (Anonymous, 2005, p. 339).
Vitamin K is an important nutrient for the body. Studies have also concluded that vitamin K is closely linked to bone health (Kidd, 2010, p. 211). Those with higher levels of vitamin K in their bodies had strong bones and a significantly less chance of breaking or fracturing a bone. Kidd (2010) also found that vitamin K is needed for cardiovascular health. With high levels of vitamin K, studies showed patients had less calcification on their arteries and stronger arterial walls (Kidd, 2010, p. 212).
Vitamin C is important to maintain a healthy immune system in the human body. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that helps the body grow and repair itself. It also protects the body from “free radicals” such as chemicals in the food people eat, radiation and tobacco smoke (2011, para 3). Vitamin C must be taken daily, as the body does not store it, and the amount prescribed is 95 milligrams for adult men and 75 for adult women (Food and Nutrition Board Staff, 2000, p.95). Vitamin C deficiency can cause anemia (a blood condition), gingivitis, decreased healing abilities and in some very rare cases, scurvy (Zieve, et al., 2011, para 8).
The anti-carcinogenic, or anti-cancer, properties of broccoli can be found in its enzymes. The main enzyme that counteracts cancer is called sulforaphane as “it protect[s] cells against electrophile toxins including carcinogens” (Tjeertes, 2004). According to World’s Healthiest Foods, only a half a cup of broccoli a day is enough to receive these anti-carcinogenic benefits (2012). A new study by the University of Illinois has found that the type of cooking the broccoli undergoes has an effect on the amount of sulforaphane in it. Overcooking or extremely high heat can destroy the enzyme as well as change the taste of the broccoli. This study also found that broccoli sprouts have higher concentrations of this anti-carcinogenic enzyme as well (Anonymous, 2011, p. 17).
According to Ghandi et al.,around 70% of Caucasians have a sensitivity to Phenylthiocarbamide, found in broccoli, that makes foods bitter (2012). This chemical can make a large part of the population, especially children, dislike eating broccoli. However, “vegetables like broccoli … are important sources of nutrition” (Ghandi, et al., 2012). Broccoli is one vegetable that needs to be incorporated in the daily diet so that all previously mentioned benefits can be absorbed for a healthful life.
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