I was hanging out with a good friend of mine yesterday and over a cup o’ caffeine we got on the topic of social media, getting yourself “out” there as an entrepreneur and blogging. I have now found a happy home in the Twitterverse and continue to water my roots in FacebookLand, but haven’t hit up my blog in ages. I know I have mentioned this in the past, but I often prevent myself from writing because I feel I don’t have the “perfect” thing to say…and forcing myself never turns out well.
But, back to Coffee Talk (à la Linda Richman), my friend suggested that I write about the fact that I’m a nerd (she didn’t actually say that, but in the end it’s the truth) and the random health tidbits I regularly bring up in everyday common conversation. Hence, nerd. Anyway, what gave her the idea was broccoli and the weird stuff about it only two minutes before I had told her.
Side note: my “problem” is that in my life (it’s actually amazing, and not a problem at all), I have a number of friends/associates who are also health and nutrition junkies and I end up, more often than not, assuming that all people know the same random things that I do. Which actually isn’t the case, because as human beings we are all wired to be into different stuff. So the info that lights me up, will be different than what jazzes someone else. Which is great!
Anyway, back to broccoli.
A bit back, we were at a common friend’s place, who will remain anonymous and were hanging out in said person’s kitchen. Like anyone who wants to embarrass their parents and have them say “I didn’t raise you like that!?!” my friend and I ended up poking around looking in the cupboards (likely for snacks). Aside from the obvious fact that it is rude, I don’t actually do this as a practice, as people get a bit twitchy when someone with a M.Sc. in nutrition starts poking around their fridge crisper drawer. Plus, I have a policy that if you don’t ask, I won’t volunteer my opinion on what your food practices are. Unless you’re my parents and then it’s open season. I promise, it’s entirely out of love…
Anyway, at some point in time a can of neon orange spray cheese ended up crossing my path (yes, you read that correctly and it still exists) and I broke my rule of not saying anything. I couldn’t help myself. Plus, I quite like the owner of the spray cheese and care about her/his health. After some ribbing took place, the conversation turned to what some of the best foods were for health maintenance/promotion (people love efficiency!) and everyone’s should-be-best-friend broccoli came up.
Most of have heard that eating colourful fruits and veggies is good (remember “beige is bad”) for the variety of health-promoting properties they contain. The word on the street is that broccoli has been singled out as being extra effective at cancer prevention because of its special chemical compounds.
All cells have the ability to regulate their growth and division through the proteins produced by tumour-suppressive genes. When these contain mutations the cells start to grow out of control and metastasize. Researchers have found that in half of all human cancers, the tumour-suppressive gene p53 and the protein it creates are damaged (as noted in the article linked below). Now, enter broccoli. Science has shown that that its chemical compound isothiocyanate has the ability to bind to the mutated p53 protein, causing the damaged cell to die and stop it from metastasizing and spreading. Amazing! And the great thing is that there is more and more research being done on the effects of food on gene expression, or epigenetics.
Sooo, it sounds like broccoli might be something to add to your next grocery list if it doesn’t commonly appear in your cart. And if you’re not a fan, the special chemicals listed above can also be found in other cruciferous veggies such as kale, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. Which maybe doesn’t help as I know chocolate nor brie cheese are found in that list. But whatever you do, back away from the spray cheese…
If you want to read more about the power of broccoli, please have a look at this article from Discovery News.