She carried us until we were able to walk, toddling away from her with tiny, fumbling steps. She comforted, she taught, she balanced— like the single human capable of holding the weight of the world on her shoulders without dropping it. She’s the one who knew just what we needed before we knew it ourselves. And sometimes, she’s the one who made us eat broccoli. Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and we’re ready to celebrate with a big “Thank You!” to mom, especially for the broccoli. Why broccoli? Because it contains compounds that support healthy estrogen metabolism and normal detoxification—both of which support overall wellbeing.i ii Mom knows best!
Indole-3-carbinol, and its derivative DIM, are activated when you consume raw or lightly cooked cruciferous veggies, like broccoli. They increase the activity of enzymes that convert dominant estrogens to the “good” kind and metabolize xenoestrogens, or chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body.xi xii xiii
Estrogen refers to a group of hormones and their metabolites that are crucial to the female reproductive system. They can be metabolized into what is considered “good” estrogen, which is weaker and shows less estrogenic effects or into more dominant types of estrogen that can be “bad” if circulating in excess. iv v Many types of breast cancer, for example, are estrogen receptor (ER) positive, which means the growth of these tumors is dependent on the dominant forms of estrogen. Broccoli contains compounds that help shift estrogen metabolism in a way that supports a healthier ratio of “good” and “bad.” vi vii viii ix x
Sulforaphane is another important phytochemical found in broccoli and other crucifers. It prompts the activity of phase II enzymes during detoxification, which are essential for the liver to bind and package up toxins to efficiently flush them from the body.xiv xv xvi
Can you remember the first time you noticed a bumble bee buzzing from flower to flower? Mom was probably right there with you, or the first person you found to tell about it. Sadly, imidacloprid, a pesticide commonly used on broccoli, is a neonicotinoid that is especially harmful to bees.xvii It also easily spreads beyond its target area into creeks and streams.xviii Imidacloprid was found on 70 percent of domestic conventional broccoli samples, according to the USDA pesticide residue testing program.xix
Now it’s your turn to nurture mom by checking to see that broccoli is still a regular on her menu. Lemons, garlic, and olive oil are deliciously simple ingredients that go with this veggie like mothers go with bedtime stories. Why not take your old nemesis for a fresh culinary spin, and treat mom to your culinary skills and a little nutrition knowledge?