As a kid, you may have hidden it under your mashed potatoes... and as an adult, you probably still skip it at the salad bar.
Broccoli is the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables -- it gets no respect!
But no matter how often you've pushed those crunchy green stalks to the side of your plate, you may want to give this veggie a second chance.
I've shared with you before how a compound found in broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables) called "sulforaphane" can help you beat back everything from diabetes to multiple kinds of cancer.
And now, a new study shows that sulforaphane is just as good for your BRAIN as it is for your body -- because it can guard your gray matter against the brain changes of Alzheimer's.
In the study, Chinese researchers gave sulforaphane to mice who’d been genetically altered to progressively develop Alzheimer's as they aged.
Now, we know that Alzheimer's disease in both mice and men is linked to the buildup of a protein called beta-amyloid (a.k.a. "plaques") in key areas of the brain related to learning and memory.
So, we'd expect that the altered mice in the study would develop plaques in their brains alongside cognitive impairment after four months’ time. But that didn’t happen to the mice that got the sulforaphane.
Not only was there NO buildup of beta-amyloid, but the treated mice had the SAME cognitive function as mice the same age that weren’t predisposed to developing Alzheimers.
Imagine – something that could prevent cognitive decline even when you’re supposedly “doomed” to experience it!
The theory is that the powerful antioxidant properties of sulforaphane can guard your delicate nerve cells from the kind of neuroinflammation and oxidative stress that sets the stage for Alzheimer's brain changes.
What's more, sulforaphane's anti-inflammatory power has also been shown to do everything from keeping your blood vessels healthy to warding off arthritis in your joints .
So, if you want to prevent those "flames" from ravaging your body AND your brain, pile up your plate with broccoli!
You can add it to stir-fry... roast it with garlic and lemon... or bake it with parmesan to punch up the flavor.
But if broccoli just isn't your bag, you can get the same amount of sulforaphane from cruciferous cousins like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage -- although those alternatives may sound about as appealing as broccoli itself.
Arugula, kale, turnips, radishes, and watercress are also in the cruciferous family and may be more pleasing to your palate.
But if nothing can sway you to eat your cruciferous veggies, you can pick up sulforaphane supplements at your local health food store or online.