BeInkandescent Healthy Fuel Series: January 2021 — Most people either love or hate broccoli. I happen to be a lover. But when my daughter Anna was born in 1995, and she got even the tiniest touch of through my breast milk, well, the screaming fit began. Poor baby (both of us!).
Now that she’s 25, broccoli is definitely on her hit list — and I’m thrilled that’s true, especially after reading this new study that says broccoli contains an amazing ingredient that could be the “Achilles’ heel” of cancer. Scroll down for that info!
Also: Check out broccoli growing tips and a delicious recipe by DC-based photographer Hilary Schwab, the Edible Garden Girl. She is partnering with our monthly BeInkandescent Healthy Fuel series, so scroll down for those delicious tips, and stay tuned for more!
Broccoli: A Cancer Killer?
A member of the cruciferous family (that includes its cousins: cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and brussels sprouts), these nutrition-packed vegetables contain a molecule that deactivates the gene responsible for cancerous tumor growth (known as WWP1), explains the study’s lead author Dr. Pier Paolo Pandolfi, director of the Cancer Centre and Cancer Research Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
“This discovery could pave the way for new cancer treatment, and that is really exciting,” Pandolfi told the Harvard Gazette, explaining that he and his team have long suspected that a gene called PTEN could cause irregularities and defects in WWP1. “Upon testing our theory on cancer-prone mice and human cells, we discovered that WWP1 produces an enzyme that overpowers the tumor-suppressive activity of PTEN. This discovery could be the key to unlocking “one of the most important tumor suppressors in the history of cancer genetics.”
The scientists also found a molecule found in cruciferous vegetables called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) that can reawaken the cancer-fighting properties of PTEN. “You would have to eat nearly 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) of uncooked Brussel sprouts every day to reap the same anti-cancer benefits,” adds fellow study author Dr. Yu-Ru Lee.
The team plans to continue their research to discover a more practical way to provide I3C to cancer patients and trigger tumor-suppressing properties in PTEN.
The study was originally published in the journal Science.
The Beauty of Purple Broccoli: A super plant, a superfood
Purple broccoli gets an A+ grade for visual appeal, health benefits, and hearty production, even in winter.
Last fall, I planted purple broccoli in my front yard garden beds. I wanted a splash of color in my yard, ideally something that was edible. Purple broccoli contains an antioxidant called anthocyanin.
Anthocyanins protect purple vegetables from sunlight damage, cold temperatures, and other stressors. Healthwise, they help protect and heal your cells from damage and protect you from many lifestyle diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
Not only are purple vegetables good for you, but they also promote biodiversity.
Commercial farming has reduced the varieties of veggies that you can purchase at the supermarket. Home gardening allows you to cultivate lesser-known varieties. Many other plants come in different varieties and colors, such as purple string beans and yellow cauliflower.
Purple broccoli does not taste any different from green broccoli. In fact, when you cook it, the vegetable turns green. The heat breaks apart the purple anthocyanin molecules on the broccoli head’s surface and decomposes the anthocyanin. The purple color that was masking the green chlorophyll underneath fades away.
Whether you are cooking green or purple broccoli, roasting is one of the best ways to bring out its flavor.
- Roasting the cut-up vegetable at high heat (400 degrees) for 10-15 minutes
- 2. Toss with olive oil to bring out the sweetness and lightly chars the ends while the stems stay perfectly cooked through.
Believe it or not: My broccoli plants are still thriving, even as we approach January. They have survived a 4-inch snowstorm in early December and nightly temperatures into the 20’s. New florets keep on appearing on the stems. This gives the phrase “frozen Broccoli” new meaning to me.
- Click here to learn more from Hilary Schwab, the Edible Garden Girl!
- Take a cooking class with Hilary: Click here to watch her in action.
More good news from BeInkandescent’s Healthy Fuel series: