Broccoli and other vegetables in the cruciferous family have been promoted by medical nutritional experts for their many health benefits and for their antioxidant properties that can protect against diseases such as cancer. Fresh fruits and vegetables are considered an important part of the healthy diet which can promote health, fight disease and control weight. New research adds another reason to add broccoli and cabbage to a healthy diet. Broccoli can help people with respiratory diseases, such as asthma, to breathe more comfortably.
Cruciferous Vegetables are Healthy
Broccoli is one of the vegetables of the family of cruciferous vegetables, in the genus Brassica. Cruciferous vegetables are a family of edible plants that includes broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, broccoflower, Chinese cabbage, turnip root, rutabaga, mustard, radish, horseradish and watercress. Vegetables from this family are inexpensive, easy to come by and can be served as salad or side dish to complement any meal.
Research on Breathing Disorders and Cruciferous Vegetables
Allergic rhinitis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are all conditions that cause respiratory discomfort and difficulty breathing. Researchers from UCLA have reported that a compound found naturally in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can help to protect people against the inflammation of the respiratory system caused by these conditions.
The research by UCLA has been published in the journal Clinic Immunology, March, 2009. The researchers reported that a chemical called sulforaphane triggers antioxidant enzymes in the airways and protects against free radicals found in the very air that people breathe.
Damaging free radicals are in the air people breathe, with the onslaught of airborne pollen, pollution, tobacco smoke and diesel exhaust. Free radicals are a supercharged form of oxygen with can lead to inflammation and respiratory ailments such as asthma.
Dr. Riedl, of UCLA, stated that researchers found an increase in antioxidant enzymes multiplied two to three times in the nasal airway cells of people who had eaten a broccoli sprouts preparation. This is exciting because broccoli sprouts are a readily available food source with the potential to protect against inflammation that could protect against respiratory ailments.
Dr. Reidl stated that more research is needed to study the benefits of sulforaphane for respiratory ailments. It is too early to state a recommend a particular dosage, although vegetables are safe to eat and are already part of a healthy diet.
The study by UCLA was supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute of Environment Health Sciences and the National Institutes of Health.
Vegetables Recommended as Part of Healthy Diet
While the researchers were not able to recommend a particular dosage, Dr. Riedl did recommend including broccoli and other vegetables from the cruciferous family as part of a healthy diet.
Broccoli and cruciferous vegetables have been recommended as part of a healthy diet for years, so this simply adds one more reason to eat broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. The USDA Food pyramid recommends two and a half cups of vegetables daily as part of a regular, healthy diet. Vegetables in the cruciferous family can be included in the USDA recommendation for vegetables.
It is not news that eating cruciferous vegetables is healthy, but the new research about eating broccoli for respiratory conditions is new and exciting.