Broccoli is one of the healthiest veggies that supply loads of nutrients for few calories. Consumption of this has been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.
In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, results showed that eating steamed broccoli can help boost the body’s ability to fight off cell damage in order to lower the risk of a heart attack.
For the study, Prof Dipak Das, the director of the cardiovascular research center at the University of Connecticut, fed steamed broccoli extract to rats for one month with the aim of measuring its effects on their hearts and to find a clear link between high levels of certain substances found in the vegetable and reduced damage caused by hearts being deprived of oxygen.
According to experts, broccoli contains a substance known as sulforaphane, which triggers the production of proteins that are part of the body’s cardiovascular defense system.
At the end of the study period, the team found that rats fed with broccoli extract, as compared to those on a normal diet, have improved heart function and less damage when deprived of oxygen.
The researchers concluded that these effects may be due to the broccoli’s ability to trigger increased production of several proteins that maintain the heart’s ability to function healthily.
In a separate study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, experts discovered that consumption of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli three or more times per day can help prevent the hardening of neck arteries in elderly women and also decrease the risk of heart disease.
Broccoli has been found to be beneficial in people with diabetes since they are at a higher risk of heart diseases and stroke and other health impairments, such as kidney disease, are linked to damaged blood vessels.
However, high levels of the protective effects of broccoli are lost once it is overcooked.