Broccoli has long been considered a healthy vegetable that is a must for those trying to get the right amount of nutrients in their diet. Consider the following as an explanation of how broccoli has the most cancer-fighting ingredients in food.
Broccoli is filled with Vitamin C, minerals, glucosinolates and phenolic compounds. With all of these helpful elements, broccoli is a good food to eat in order to help prevent chronic diseases, including cardiovascular issues and breast and prostate cancers. Broccoli also helps prevent oxidative stress related to other diseases due to its antioxidant activity.
Studies Analyze Different Types of Florets
It has been confirmed that broccoli contains antioxidants and anti-cancer properties. However, different studies focused on different types of florets, so the results varied. One study looked at the stalks and leaves of three different varieties of florets. The one thing that was not considered during this study, however, was the different harvest times. This could be important because harvesting the broccoli at different times would mean different biological activities.
A study focused on different cultivars, namely Kyoyoshi, Myeongil96 and SK3-085, all purchased from the same farm in Jeju, Korea, and havestedat different growth stages.
Study Results Show Phenolics Differences
Different cultivars of broccoli and by-products have different phenolics. The highest level of phenolics was in Kyoyoshi, which is an early-maturing variety of cultivar, while Myeongil96 (middle-maturing) was next and SK3-085 (late maturing) was third. Meanwhile, the leaves of all cultivars contained the most phenolics in terms of by-products. Florets were next, followed by stems.
When tested for different phenolic levels at different dates of harvest, SK3-085 had the highest phenolics when harvested in October when it was non-flowering. Meanwhile, harvesting in November, when the florets were beginning to form, was the second highest levels of phenolics.
Genetics, soil cultivation and composition as well as growing conditions impacted the phenolic levels in various by-products. In an interesting twist, the stems and leaves that are usually by-products of broccoli production may contain more beneficial antioxidant and anti-cancer properties than the florets that are usually sold for consumption. The study of these by-products could have significant benefits for the food industry.
Sulforaphane, which is a product of glucoraphanin in broccoli (produced during hydrolysis), was measured in freeze-dried by-products and found highest in florets. Meanwhile, the highest phenolic content was in SK3-085 when harvested in January, or the mature stage.
Meanwhile, the sulforaphane content in the stem of the Kyoyoshi cultivar of broccoli was higher than the floret. The leaves overall contained the lowest levels of sulforaphane.
This ultimately means that any level of broccoli can be eaten for its antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, but some of the types of broccoli and some harvested at different times can be more beneficial than others. It is still a very wise decision to include broccoli in your dinner plans during the week to help you stay in good health in general and also to prevent cancer development.