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Alaskan Broccoli and Cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower are your body’s new best friends! They fight against certain cancers, promote cardiovascular health and keep eyes healthy and vision optimal. Since the unique climate of Alaska makes for bigger, better produce, many of  these cruciferous superfoods hail from the “The Last Frontier.”

Cold weather may not seem like a component of ideal growing conditions, but in the case of broccoli and cauliflower, it is. Along with the long periods of sunlight that Alaska experiences, cold weather promotes rapid growth and larger than average plants. Warmer climates stop broccoli and cauliflower from growing, but consistently cold weather allows plants to continue to thrive. Alaska is also home to less garden pests, which makes for healthier produce. The Alaskan climate is so conducive to healthy broccoli and cauliflower growth that the state holds world records for both plants in weight and size, respectively.

You probably didn’t know that a large portion of the broccoli and cauliflower in stores comes from Alaska, and that’s not the only surprising fact regarding these super veggies. Broccoli and cauliflower have amazing health benefits, including helping the body to:
  • Fight Cancer
Sulforaphane, found in broccoli and cauliflower, is an antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic compound that stimulates the body’s detoxification process. It also eliminates H. pylori, a stomach bacterium that may lead to cancer of the stomach and ulcers in the duodenum.  Compounds in the plants called isothiocyanates are  also anti-carcinogenic. And Indole-3-carbinol is an antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic that may be helpful in slowing prostate and breast cancer growth. According to sciencedaily.com, “Broccoli has been of particular interest to scientists because it contains the highest levels of certain glucosinolates, a class of phytochemicals that many believe may reduce the risk of prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancer.”

Vitamin C is another potent antioxidant that may aid in cancer treatment and prevention. Sciencedaily says that “…a team of Johns Hopkins scientists have shown that in mice at least, vitamin C - and potentially other antioxidants - can indeed inhibit the growth of some tumors.” The study also “unexpectedly found that the antioxidants' actual role may be to destabilize a tumor's ability to grow under oxygen-starved conditions” within the stomach, which may decrease the risk of stomach cancer.
  • Support Cardiovascular Health
The potassium in broccoli and cauliflower may protect against stroke and also helps to regulate blood pressure and heartbeat. It is an anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties  and may help to prevent atherosclerosis and other inflammation-related cardiovascular problems that lead to heart attack and stroke.  Folate and B6 can lower risk of heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis, and magnesium and calcium (found in broccoli) work with potassium to keep blood pressure levels healthy. The lutein in broccoli helps to keep arteries from thickening to reduce risk of stroke and heart disease.
  • Promote Healthy Vision
Vitamin B6 helps body to absorb magnesium, which can prevent dryness of the eyes, and deficiency of the folate found in broccoli and cauliflower may lead to eye problems like lower visual acuity and loss of vision. Vitamin C may help to prevent cataracts, and the high levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in broccoli may aid in prevention of age related macular degeneration and cataracts. Lastly, the beta-carotene in broccoli is converted to vitamin A, which is vital to overall vision and night vision. In fact, cnn.com calls broccoli “one of the richest sources of vitamin A in the produce section.”

Broccoli and cauliflower also contain vitamins, minerals and nutrients that promote immune system and nervous system health and neurological and digestive function.

If you’re interested in keeping your body healthy and protecting it from disease (and who isn’t?), broccoli and cauliflower are two of the most effective and inexpensive ways to do so. Add them to your diet to decrease the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, promote healthy vision and much more!

Check out our Recipes section for a great-tasting, super-healthy broccoli and cauliflower salad!

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