Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in America and throughout the world. While technology has advanced greatly in recent decades and given patients more choice, treatment options still remained limited largely to some form of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, all of which carry with them risks and serious side effects.
However, there are natural ways to help reduce the chances of developing cancer in the first place – and of fighting it effectively if it does develop. Much research is underway all around the globe to see which foods have cancer-fighting properties. And not surprisingly, yet another member of the cruciferous family (which also includes broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) has been found to have protective properties: namely, the lowly and previously overlooked Brussels sprout.
A Nutritional Powerhouse
One way that Brussels sprouts help to prevent cancer is by keeping the body in general fit and the immune system strong. It has massive amounts of Vitamin K and Vitamin C as well as a whole array of minerals, including manganese and potassium. Once its protein, fiber and choline is added into the mix, you get a vegetable that will help provide the body with the nutrients it needs to stay fit – and all for about 56 calories per serving!
All of the members of the cruciferous family contain sulfur-based compounds called glucosinolates, which in multiple scientific studies have been shown to help not only prevent cancer, but to actively fight against it if it does manage to take root in the body.
One of the most important of these glucosinolates is called indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, which has been studied exhaustively and continues to the subject of current oncological research all around the world. I3C had gained so much attention because of its ability to stop the growth of cancer cells through disrupting the process by which those cells reproduce. This has shown to be effective against many forms of cancer cells, including colon and breast cancer, two of the most widespread forms of this disease.
A Natural Detoxifier
There is yet another way in which Brussels sprouts help to prevent and combat cancer. They are natural detoxifiers, helping the body to remove unwanted substances before they can do damage to the cells at the DNA level, a major precursor for some cancers. One study found that participants who consumed a cup and a half of Brussels sprouts daily demonstrated a 28% reduction in cellular DNA damage.
So if someone is in the market for a healthy, inexpensive way to reduce their cancer risk, going with Brussels sprouts is a very good choice. They are served traditionally in England (where they are extremely popular) with chestnuts, but can also be added to a variety of casseroles and soups, making them a versatile and easy vegetable to work with – as well as a great way to fight cancer.
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