Steaming Broccoli Enhances Its Anti-Cancer Properties

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Steaming Broccoli Enhances Its Anti-Cancer Properties
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Steaming Broccoli Enhances Its Anti-Cancer Properties

Adding broccoli to your dinner is a great idea. The green veggie boasts loads of nutrients, but if you want to ensure that you're deriving the maximum amount of benefits, read on!

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A recent study found that the preparation of broccoli drastically impacted the amount of cancer-fighting properties that remained in the vegetable.

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Broccoli contains a good dose of sulforaphane, which is a phytochemical that has demonstrated impressive anti-cancer properties. This phytochemical appears in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and others.

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Cruciferous vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of various cancers. Studies have shown that this type of vegetable impacts breast, lung, colon, liver, cervix and prostate cancers.

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However, broccoli requires an enzyme called myrosinase to allow the cancer-fighting sulforaphane to form. Destruction of the essential enzyme will prohibit the formation of sulforaphane.

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The scientists, who presented their research at American Institute for Cancer Research Annual Research Conference, found that cooking broccoli in the microwave or boiling it, destroyed most of the myrosinase. The destruction of the vital enzyme occurred even when the broccoli was boiled or microwaved for a minute!

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However, the researchers found that steaming broccoli maintained the myrosinase.

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To conduct the study, scientists steamed, microwaved and boiled broccoli and examined its state afterward.

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Elizabeth Jeffery, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explained that steaming broccoli for about five minutes was the best method to keep the myrosinase in tact.

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Participants in the study were also asked to eat a broccoli supplement that did not contain myrosinase. However, they then ate a food high in myrosinase. Scientists found the participants who ate the second food with myrosinase had significantly higher levels of sulforaphan in their blood and urine levels than the participants who hadn't consumed the second myrosinase-rich food.

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According to Health24, Jeffery explains that "mustard, radish, arugula, wasabi and other uncooked cruciferous vegetables such as coleslaw all contain myrosinase, and we've seen this can restore the formation of sulforaphan."

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If you really really don't like broccoli boiled, steamed, microwaved or even slathered with butter, don't worry. There are plenty of other foods that contain potential cancer-fighting abilities. Read on to learn more.

Whole Grains

Filled with fiber and antioxidants like lignans, whole grains are a much healthier bet than products with refined white flour. Whole grains contain saponins, which are believed to keep cancer cells from multiplying.

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Garlic

Through its unmistakably pungent odor, garlic actually keep cancerous substances from forming in the body. It is believed that the sulfur compounds that give garlic its potent scent also increase the speed of DNA repair and help to destroy cancer cells. Garlic can even reduce the risk of colon cancer.

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Grapefruit

Grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, which is said to keep cancer-causing nitrogen compounds from forming. Diets filled with vitamin C have been shown to lower the risk of stomach, colon, esophagus, bladder, breast and cervix cancer.

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Green Tea

Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to stop cancer growth. Drink up!

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Berries

Researchers at the University of Florida found that the active ingredient in acai berries killed cancer cells, but you really can't go wrong with any type of berry! Blueberries have been shown to cause the destruction of cancer cells in the liver. Studies on cranberries have found that they help in ovarian cancer.

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Tomatoes

Tomatoes derive their signature red color from a phytochemical called lycopene, which has been linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene has also been found to hinder the growth of cancer cells in the breasts and lungs.

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Beans And Lentils

Beans and lentils are filed with fiber, which has been found to decrease the risk of colon cancer and other digestive cancers. Both beans and lentils have been shown to hinder or slow down damage to DNA, which according to LiveScience, is the basis of cancer.

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Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of beta-carotene, an antioxidant found in orange veggies and leafy greens. Studies have found that diets rich in beta-carotene can reduce the risk of lung, colon and stomach cancer.

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By now, adding veggies to your diet is a no brainer.

There are countless benefits to enjoying greens, and minimizing your risk of cancer is a huge one. However, the method with which you choose to prepare vegetables can impact their amount of cancer-fighting properties.

A recent study found that steaming broccoli seemed to enhance the anti-cancer elements of broccoli, while microwaving or boiling the cruciferous vegetable destroyed the cancer-fighting benefits.

Check out the slideshow above to learn why steaming --not microwaving -- broccoli is the best way to increase its ability to fight cancer.

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