Eat Your Broccoli to Lower Heart Risks

By Susan Mudd

We’ve all been told to eat our veggies — especially the dark green ones — since we were little babes in high chairs. But ask people exactly why these plants are so good for us, and you’ll get vague answers like “helps prevent cancer” or “fiber is good for you.” Here’s something you can sink your teeth into: Some vegetables may protect and even reverse the damaging effects of diabetes on the heart, according to a report in Diabetes News.

Researchers at the University of Warwick in England isolated a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables, and tested its effects on human cells. (Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and leafy greens.) When they tested sulforaphane on blood vessel cells that were damaged from diabetes, they found a 73 percent reduction in the activity of a free radical called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), which at high levels is very damaging.

The researchers also found that sulforaphane activates a protein that protects cells and tissues by increasing antioxidant activity and supporting the liver’s ability to detoxify free radicals. When the liver is healthy and able to handle the detoxification and elimination of free radicals, the immune system can better do its work, including protecting us from the kind of cell mutations that can lead to cancer.

Researchers caution, of course, that experimenting with blood cells incubated in a laboratory environment can not necessarily be extrapolated to what would happen in the human body. But these are promising findings. The next step is to find a sample population in which to study the effects of increased dietary intake of sulforaphane-rich foods.

Free radicals such as ROS are one of the causes of damaged blood vessels in diabetes. As the body attempts to repair the blood vessels, plaques form and blood vessel walls begin to narrow, resulting in both high blood pressure and the condition known as atherosclerosis. The arteries to the brain and heart are also affected, setting the stage for heart attack or stroke. People with diabetes are five times more likely to die from a cardiovascular event than those without diabetes.

So stock up on cruciferous veggies — and consider expanding your usual repertoire. Broccoli sprouts, which are very young germinations of broccoli seeds (similar in appearance to bean sprouts) may be the best choice, as they are packed with enzymes that help to increase levels of sulforaphane in the body. Lightly steaming or quickly sautéing vegetables are the best ways to cook them to guarantee that they retain their nutrients, so those heart healthy benefits will be passed on to you.

1 – Mayo Clinic. Nutrition-Wise: Fascinating connection between broccoli and reversal of diabetes complications. (Accessed August 28, 2008.)

2 – Xue, Mingzhan, Qingwen Qian, Adaikalakoteswari Antonysunil, Naila Rabbani, Roya Babaei-Jadidi, and Paul J. Thornalley. Activation of NF-E2-related factor-2 reverses biochemical dysfunction of endothelial cells induced by hyperglycemia linked to vascular disease. Diabetes News, August 2008. (Accessed August 25, 2008).

Next Steps

Becoming victorious over the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is not easy, but you can overcome your PCOS symptoms to live the life you deserve.

It takes strength, courage, and perseverance. It can be challenging and that’s why Insulite Health created this website. It's has information and resources that will help you balance your hormones and reverse PCOS symptoms.

So take these next steps now! Use the links below to learn how to make the changes that will transform your health and your life forever.

  1. Read more about PCOS. Search our 1300 page PCOS library.
  2. Join our Facebook Group right now!  Pose your questions to this group of like-minded women and get the support you need.
  3. Take the PCOS Quiz! Get your PCOS score and assess your risk.  
  4. Learn more about the Insulite 5-Element PCOS Solution

Insulite Health, is committed to helping women reverse their symptoms of hormone imbalance. Scientific research has revealed that this imbalance can be a primary cause of many devastating health symptoms. Hormone Imbalance can also underlie the increased risk factors for PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) - a major source of serious diseases as well as cause of excess weight gain, adult acne, unwanted facial hair, depression, anxiety, and heartbreaking female infertility.

©Insulite Health, Inc., empowers women with PCOS to transform their lives through a process of healing with the 5-Element PCOS System – a complete solution for helping women reverse the symptoms of PCOS and hormone imbalance.