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Broccoli, a medicine-food to cure liver diseases

A new study reveals another important reason to eat broccoli every day: this vegetable contains a substance with an essential role in regenerating liver cells, even in the case of hepatitis and cirrhosis patients.

Source: Flickr.com
Source: Flickr.com

The oxidative stress produced by free radicals, which are the result of polluted air and natural metabolic processes, speeds up the development of serious diseases from diabetes and cardiovascular problems to hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer.

A healthy body can sustain self-defending mechanisms that reduce or cancel the effect of the free radicals. However, when someone suffers from hepatic cirrhosis, for example, these mechanisms are prevented from functioning properly.

„The cells succeed to keep oxidative stress under control with the aid of several mechanisms. The majority make use of a protein called Nrf2, which helps destroy antagonistic molecules before they have the chance to do any harm”, explains Donna Zhang, professor at the Pharmacy and Toxicology Department of the University of Arizona.

Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables have a beneficial role in fighting free radicals. But, according to researchers at the University of Arizona, the best by far source of antioxidants that increase the level of the beneficial Nrf2 protein, especially if the body suffers from cirrhosis, is broccoli.

“The accumulation of Nrf2 in the cells is one of the best solutions to protect the body in general. This is why it’s so important to eat broccoli every day”, reiterates Donna Zhang, the coordinator of the research.

Raw or boiled?

Broccoli is mostly consumed steamed or baked. However, specialists say that both of these cooking methods are damaging for the nutritive substances found in the green florets. The healthiest way to consume broccoli is uncooked, in salads, combined with onions, olive oil and freshly ground seeds, for example.