Eat broccoli to ease breathing problems

What you need to know:

  • Researchers from Melbourne University have discovered that the sulforaphane naturally occurring in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables help protect against respiratory inflammation that can cause asthma.

Many times we have been told that eating vegetables is important and can boost our general health and development. According to Science Daily, a naturally occurring compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may help protect one against respiratory inflammation that causes conditions such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Reduces the symptoms of asthma

Researchers say eating steamed broccoli daily could treat asthma. This is because it contains sulforaphane, which is known to prevent respiratory inflammation.

Eating one or two cups of steamed broccoli every day could be a new treatment to help asthmatics, according to Melbourne researchers.

Every day we breathe in polluted air, pollen, diesel exhaust and tobacco smoke. The sulforaphane chemical in broccoli triggers an increase of antioxidant enzymes in the human airway that offers protection against the attack of free radicals and blocks the harmful effects of air pollution.

“Free radicals can cause oxidative tissue damage, which leads to inflammation and respiratory conditions like asthma. It is important to note that the research is still in the experimental phase and during an asthma attack, normal medical advice must be followed,” the research states.

The vegetable, according to Ivan Philip Baguma, a nutritionist, is rich in vitamin A and C, B-6 and contains iron, calcium and dietary fibre. It is also low in calories, has no fat and is also full of antioxidants.

Broccoli is known to be part of the cabbage family (cruciferous) and is also believed to have anti-carcinogenic properties and reduces or reverses lung damage. Other vegetables in the cruciferous family include kale, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and bok choy.

Reduce the risk of cancer

In our daily bodily activities such as metabolism, the body produces molecules called free radicals during these natural processes. These free radicals are toxic in large amounts and can cause cell damage that can lead to cancer.

“The body can eliminate the free radicals with the help of dietary antioxidants, some of which are contained in the broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables thereby preventing cancer,” Baguma says.

Aid digestion

Dietary fibre can help promote regularity, prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract and lower the risk of colon cancer.

“People who consume a high fibre diet are less likely to have type 2 diabetes. This is because the fibre helps reduce blood sugar levels. People who consumed the highest levels of fibre were less likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who ate little fibre,” Baguma says.

Boosts immune health

The vitamin C antioxidant in broccoli supports the immune system and helps the body fight against cardiovascular disease, cataracts, anaemia and may help prevent cancer.

The same vitamin helps the body produce collagen, which is the main support system for body cells and organs, including the skin. The vitamin helps prevent skin damage, and wrinkling due to age.

Improves bone health

Broccoli is rich in calcium and collagen, which work together for strong bones and teeth. The body also needs vitamin C to produce collagen, which is also present in broccoli.

Vitamin K, which is also present in broccoli is important in blood coagulation.  Getting enough vitamin K from the diet may help keep the bones healthy. People with low levels of vitamin K experience bone problems.