• Sonja

Boost Your Immunity With Broccoli

Diet and lifestyle have a huge impact on our wellbeing, and the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 has made it absolutely necessary for us to take good care of our health and bodies. Contracting COVID-19 can lead to severe complications: from neurological disorders and acute kidney injury, to cardiac dysfunction or hyperinflammation, and many other manifestations.

We have been told many times in the past few months that we should maintain a healthy lifestyle, in order to support the immune system and eliminate the risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. But what does that actually mean, and why is it essential to eat fruit and vegetables to boost our immunity?

Let's have a closer look at broccoli, to demonstrate this:

Broccoli is classified as a cruciferous vegetable and hence, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. For a veggie, broccoli has a good amount of protein, and it also is significantly high in vitamins A, C and K.

Broccoli also contains vitamin E as well as folate, and is high in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6. It also has a bunch of minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium – and even contains a little zinc, salt, and selenium. Not to forget carbohydrates (the good 'sugar' that our brain needs to function correctly), omega-3, and also fibre, which promotes gut health.

The benefits of broccoli are obvious: low in calories, but rich in nutrients and anti-inflammatories, as well as antioxidants:

  • Indole-3-carbinol, which is only found in cruciferous vegetables, and used in cancer prevention.

  • Lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene – which are carotenoids that may all contribute to better eye health.

  • Quercetin is an antioxidant as well as the most abundant dietary flavonoid. It is linked to reduced blood pressure as well as inflammation, and may be beneficial for heart health, cancer, and allergy prevention. It may also protect the brain.

  • Kaempferol may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and allergies. It helps regulate apoptosis (cell death), angiogenesis (forming of new blood vessels), and metastasis (the spread of cancer cells to new areas) and thus, may help prevent or heal from cancer.

Besides all of this, there is another greatly beneficial component in broccoli:

Sulforaphane – which may reduce inflammation, slow tumour growth, and protect your DNA. But to get sulforaphane, you either need to eat your broccoli raw, or you can also chop it and wait for 45 minutes before steaming, cooking, baking, or roasting it.

When you cut broccoli, glucoraphanin, the sulforaphane precursor, is released and mixed with myrosinase – an enzyme. This enzyme is not heat-resistant, and will be destroyed when cooking broccoli within the first 45 minutes after chopping. However, after 45 minutes, the heat-resistant sulforaphane will have stabilised, and the enzyme is no longer needed.

If you would like to integrate broccoli into your diet in order to get a whole bunch of health benefits and back-up your immune response, I recommend eating at least one cup of this 'superfood' daily. As you might know, there’s no guarantee of not getting any health complications from COVID-19, however a healthy immune system may help treat and prevent modern world diseases, as well as decrease inflammation and oxidation – which can help prepare your immune system to fight viruses smoothly and effortlessly.

Sonja from SOS Free


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