While everyone knows that vegetables are extremely healthful, understanding why they are good is something that seems to be left up to scientists. When it comes to broccoli, researchers in England found just why it, and other related veggies, may be good for your heart. A must-have for your healthy heart diet plan, broccoli has been shown to be so heart-healthy due to an active compound called sulforaphane.
According to Reuters, sulforaphane works by turning on a protein in the arteries that works to protect them against clogging. Certain areas of the heart are more prone to blockage. In these areas, a protective protein known as Nrf2 is inactive. Sulforaphane activates it.
“What our study showed was that sulforaphane can protect those regions by switching on Nrf2,” said Paul Evans of the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College.
The study was published in Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology in 2009.
So, what if you don’t like broccoli? Well, the good news is that other members of the brassica family of vegetables also contain sulforaphane.
In addition to protecting the heart, scientists are examining the anti-cancer effects of sulforaphane.
Healthy Heart Diet Plan
You have plenty of options if you want to get the heart healthy benefits of broccoli. In addition to consuming broccoli, don’t hesitate to add many of the below foods in your healthy heart diet plan. Consume these foods each week and you will be taking a step to keep blood flowing easily through the heart and reduce your risk of blockages:
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Mustard and Collard Greens
These vegetables have numerous health benefits in addition to those above. They are rich in antioxidants, known for protecting the cells from free radical damage. They are also rich in enzymes known to reduce the risks of breast and uterine cancer.
Steam them, bake them, or get the most out of them by eating them raw. These foods have unique healing properties that we are only beginning to learn about – and should all be included with your healthy heart diet plan.