Fight Cancer With Broccoli

By Allison Takeda, Everyday Health Staff Writer October 5, 2012

Eating broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, or other cruciferous vegetables just once a week could significantly lower your risk of several cancers.

Adding cruciferous veggies to your diet could decrease your cancer risk by as much as 32 percent, according to a recent review published in the Annals of Oncology. And a little goes a long way: Experts say eating broccoli or cabbage or bok choy even once a week can yield positive results.

Eat Broccoli, Prevent Cancer?

The research supports earlier findings about the importance of diet in cancer prevention. In one study from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., scientists found that eating broccoli or cabbage just three times a month could reduce an individual’s risk of bladder cancer by as much as 40 percent. And in a study presented at the 2012 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, women who increased their cruciferous vegetable intake within the first three years after a breast cancer diagnosis lowered their risk for mortality by up to 62 percent and their risk for recurrence by up to 35 percent.

Earlier research from the University of Illinois suggests that a component called myrosinase may also have cancer-fighting properties. Myrosinase is an enzyme found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that activates sulforaphane, an anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory compound. However, cooking diminishes the myrosinase content in veggies, so experts recommend either eating them raw or lightly steaming them to preserve their health benefits.

For more on the latest cancer news and research, follow @WomensCancer or @CancerFacts on Twitter from the editors of @EverydayHealth.

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