Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today's Special Guest...Brussels Sprouts

Early on in my journey, it was a mad scramble to understand what was going on and to find things that would improve my health.  From the get go, nutrition was a real tricky one.  First, the cancer doctors wanted me to eat protein, lots of protein. It's an important tool in dealing with cancer and the effects of chemotherapy. But I had the kidney problem, so I was limited in what I could eat and the kinds of proteins I could eat. Soy, no. Nuts, no. Not too much red meat.  And so on and so on.  The cancer doctors weren't real keen on even discussing nutrition. Seemed odd. We came to realize that it's just not part of medical training. We saw a couple of different nutritionists and they helped us understand food a bit better. We learned what was bad for the kidneys and what wasn't. We also learned what foods might feed cancer. Sugar, of course, is a real culprit in feeding cancer.  Anyhow, we learned a lot and continue to learn. Leslie took control of my diet early on and it's been successful. It sucked at first, but I'm good now. I'm used to the food restrictions. But as I said yesterday, I'd love to be able to break away from meat as my primary protein source and go to healthier alternatives like nuts and soy. If the kidneys keep it up, I might be able to make that switch soon.

The goal is to be lean & mean in 2013. So there is more to learn.  Hence today's guest is Brussels Sprouts.  I used to hated them. But now I love them, so many ways to make them. I'm not here to give any recipes but I do want to share news about the health aspects of the b.s. Enjoy.

  • For total glucosinolate content, Brussels sprouts are now known to top the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. Their total glucosinolate content has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli. In Germany, Brussels sprouts account for more glucosinolate intake than any other food except broccoli. Glucosinolates are important phytonutrients for our health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and have great health benefits for this reason. But it's recent research that's made us realize how especially valuable Brussels sprouts are in this regard.
  • The cancer protection we get from Brussels sprouts is largely related to four specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian. Research has shown that Brussels sprouts offer these cancer-preventive components in special combination.
  • Plant phytonutrients found in Brussels sprouts boost the body`s natural defense systems to protect against cancer and other diseases. Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables disarm cancer causing chemicals and encourage the body`s detoxification enzymes.
  • Evidence in the Netherlands suggests that Brussels sprouts keep the body free from cancer by promoting healthy DNA. DNA is responsible for cell division in the body. When DNA gets damaged, cells may begin to replicate much more rapidly than normal, which can cause a cancerous tumor to begin to form. Several studies reveal that Brussels sprouts have the ability to help protect DNA from damage.
  • Research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle studied 1,000 men. Those who ate three or more servings of cruciferous vegetables each week had a 44% lower prostate cancer risk.
  • Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables—cousins to broccoli, cauliflower and Bok choy, turnips, chard and watercress. Studies link greater consumption of cruciferous vegetables with decreased incidence of several types of cancer. That's because they are a source of isothiocyanates, a class of phytochemicals that help our bodies detoxify undesirable compounds, possibly stopping cancer before it starts.
  • Research published in the International Journal of Cancer shows that Brussels sprouts protect against bladder cancer as well. Brussels sprout`s bladder cancer properties appear to come from their high levels isothiocyanates, which are potent anti-carcinogens. Isothiocyanates travel through the bladder to be excreted, making them particularly powerful against this form of cancer.
  • Sulforaphane is released by Brussels sprouts and has been proven to trigger the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify the body of cancer-causing chemicals They have been shown to inhibit chemically-induced breast cancers in animal studies.

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