A certain felt-covered frog once quipped, “It’s not easy being green.”  And I’m sure if broccoli could speak it would agree.

Sadly, this healthy veggie seldom gets the respect it really deserves. All too often it’s the butt of jokes about kids feeding it to the dog under the table. And I probably don’t need to remind you what our 41st President had to say about the stuff.

But the truth is, broccoli is a superfood in every sense of the word. And if the king of cruciferous vegetables isn’t a regular on your dinner plate, than you’re missing out on the “broccoli cure”. Hidden inside those green stalks is a whole lot of healing power, starting with the potential to ward off cancer.

Research has shown that broccoli extract can kill breast cancer cells. In fact, women who regularly eat this cruciferous vegetable have a 62 percent lower risk of dying from breast cancer and a 35 percent reduced risk of it ever coming back, according to one study.

In a University of Oregon study it was prostate cancer that was the target. Broccoli extract not only killed the prostate cancer cells it managed to do it safely, leaving the nearby healthy cells intact.

(You know… pretty much the opposite of what chemo does.)

I shared all the details on that prostate study on the NorthStar blog—including Big Pharma’s intense interest in the results. Click here to get the whole scoop.

Reverse arthritis with the “broccoli cure”?

It’s a natural phytochemical called sulforaphane that appears to be responsible for the broccoli cure’s cancer-fighting abilities as well as its anti-inflammatory properties. This plant-based chemical, known as an isothiocyanate, is also at the heart of an exciting new broccoli-based discovery.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia say that munching on sulforaphane-loaded broccoli could be the key to heading off agonizing joint pain. A lab study shows that the phytochemical literally slows down the destruction of joint cartilage that’s seen with the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis.

Mice fed a sulforaphane-rich diet were practically ready to get up and do the tango. They had significantly less of the painful cartilage damage that you’d expect to see with osteoarthritis. And similar exciting results were seen with human and cow cartilage cells.

The sulforaphane blocked the enzymes that lead to the wearing away of the cartilage in arthritic joints, heading off the molecule that leads to inflammation, according to the findings published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Get the “broccoli cure” now

Now that the researchers have proven that the “broccoli cure” works in the lab and in animals, they hope to prove that it has the same effect on human joints as well. They are conducting a trial on osteoarthritis patients who will be having knee replacement surgery.

But there’s really no reason to wait around for those results. Broccoli is chock full of important nutrients and there’s no time like the present to bump up the amount of this delicious and nutritious veggie in your diet.

We already know those good-for-you green stalks fight inflammation, could help keep cancer in its place and may even help tame the tummy-troubling symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

(To learn more about the Crohn’s and broccoli connection visit the NorthStar blog. Despite what Crohn’s sufferers are often told, this “forbidden” food is beneficial!)

Just make sure your cooking your broccoli the right way. A light steaming… just three to four minutes… is all it takes.

If you end up with a limp mushy side dish it’s a sure sign you’ve overcooked it, and killed the enzymes that release that all-important sulforaphane in the process.