Over the years, various studies have suggested that people who regularly consume cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, bok choy, etc.) have lower rates of many cancers, including breast and prostate cancer. Researchers have investigated cruciferous vegetables in an attempt to identify the active agent(s) that account for this cancer-protective effect. As it turns out, cruciferous vegetables are unique in that they contain compounds called sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Both of these natural agents enhance the body’s ability to detoxify cancer-causing chemicals, but indole-3-carbinol in particular exhibits other impressive anti-cancer effects that should be recognized.
Experimental studies show that indole-3-carbinol and its metabolites (products made from indole-3-carbinol in the body’s metabolism) not only stop the growth of certain types of cancer cells, but also trigger them into committing suicide. This is an important mechanism by which the indole-3-carbinol is thought to lower our risk of cancer.
So, in addition to speeding up the body’s ability to neutralize (detoxify) and eliminate cancer-causing chemicals, indole-3-carbinol also appears to help ensure that any emerging cancer cells commit suicide before they can become a threat to the body. Research suggests supplementation with indole-3-carbinol also reverses cervical dysplasia and vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (tumor), two precancerous conditions that occur in women, in a high percentage of cases. Another study showed that indole-3-carbinol supplementation reversed respiratory papillomas as well.
In addition to these impressive cancer-fighting capabilities, indole-3-carbinol also helps prevent the buildup of the form of estrogen that is linked to breast and uterine cancers. Researchers have identified that when a woman’s body makes more of one form of estrogen (16-OH estrone) and less of another form (2-OH estrone), her risk of reproductive organ cancer is greater. Indole-3-carbinol promotes the conversion of estrone to 2-OH estrone, the form of estrone that is safer and less potent, and reduces the buildup of the dangerous 16-OH estrone.
Indole-3-carbinol may be one of the most powerful cancer-fighting nutrients ever identified. In order to derive optimal benefits from this important compound, you should consume broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts or some combination of cruciferous vegetables at least four to five times per week. In addition, you should consider indole-3-carbinol supplementation to further optimize your cancer defenses on a daily basis. Talk to your doctor about how to reduce your risk of developing cancer and other diseases through the proven power of nutrition.
Here’s 10 Common Nutrients in Vegetables
1. Beta-carotene: especially useful to the body as it is turned into vitamin A. Found in yellow, red, orange and dark green vegetables and fruit such as pumpkin, carrots, yellow beans, beetroot, blue berries, raspberries, spinach, kale, broccoli
2. Calcium: essential for developing and maintain strong bones. Found in green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale and plain yoghurt. Do not rely on dairy foods as your only source of calcium after all, where do cows get calcium?
3. Chlorophyll: for energy and the very basis of healthy. Found in all the green vegetables and their leaves, such as spinach, beetroot, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, salad leaves, etc
4. Flavonoids: these are antioxidants which help prevent degenerative diseases such as heart disease and cancer eat your veggies!
5. Folic acid: essential for healthy blood. Found in beetroot, citrus fruit, green leafy vegetables and salad leaves
6. Iron: very important for well functioning red blood cells. Found in dark green leafy vegetables and beetroot
7. Magnesium: essential for growth and repair of the body. Found in peas, nuts and sesame seeds
8. Phosphorus: grow healthy teeth and bones. Found in cabbage, potatoes, oranges, cherries and currants
9. Potassium: important for cell function. Found in many vegetables and fruit, particularly bananas
10. Protein: an essential nutrient for all muscle building and maintaining, energy and growth. Found in beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds
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