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What is “The Broccoli Effect” and How Can it Help You?

Almost everyone is aware that eating lots of leafy, dark green vegetables is a healthy choice. Even if we don't put heaping piles of fresh spinach or kale on our dinner plates, we know that we probably should. New research is unlocking the secrets of why certain veggies are helping us to stay healthy and to minimize the effects of aging.

It turns out that simple broccoli is a very impressive anti-aging food that comes with the added benefit of contributing to heart health. A recent study conducted at UCLA demonstrates that, among vegetables, broccoli is the best source of a chemical called sulforaphane. This chemical helps to activate the body's own antioxidants, which helps to control cell decline.

And that's not all. Broccoli is one versatile vegetable. One study that tested broccoli extracts revealed that broccoli can have a direct impact on preventing bladder cancer. The same study found that broccoli helps prevent muscle damage during oxygen deprivation (which is one key to surviving a heart attack).

Dieticians remind us that the way you prepare broccoli and other vegetables has a large impact on the benefits you receive. For instance, consider steaming broccoli rather than boiling it to preserve the nutrients. And never fear that you must eat broccoli every day. Other vegetables that are rich in sulforaphane include kale, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, collards, and turnips. As a rule, if it has green leaves, it's good for you, and you are most likely not eating enough of it!