Carotenoids are the fat-soluble plant compounds found in many vegetables. They are the most important source of vitamin A, a valuable antioxidant essential to our health.
Plant carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are found in corn and leafy greens vegetable such as kale, broccoli, and spinach, with an ability to protect us from chronic diseases. Among these are age-related macular degeneration, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Recent research has shown that broccoli has even more to offer. With more carotenoids than any other members of its food family, scientists have discovered why this just is.
Mark W. Farnham of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Charleston, South Carolina, and Dean A. Kopsell from the Plant Sciences Department, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, studied the cruciferous vegetable and found some interesting information.
Their research confirmed that broccoli contains a large amount of lutein, an antioxidant that we often associate with eyes and skin. Other carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, were also found, but lutein levels were the most significant.
The team also found that when breeding broccoli, the lutein levels were linked to the plant’s genetics; the environment had little effect.
The study is published in HortScience.
So eat more broccoli. Simple as that. If you don’t know how to make it so you love it, we guarantee you’ll dig Imagine Foods’ Creamy Broccoli Organic Soup, and get inspired by The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen.
Image courtesy of herbalextractsplus.com