Cooking Part 2: Foods That Protect Your Cells

Purple and Green CabbagesIn my article, Cooking Part I: Foods that Harm, I cited many studies that linked foods cooked with high heat (over 300 degrees) to numerous cancers, accelerated aging, and chronic inflammation.

Here’s the good news: There are numerous foods that help to protect the body from the damaging effects of over-cooked foods.

The bad news: To get the benefits, you have to eat a heck of a lot of them. Let’s take a look!

Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with a constituent called Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C). In one study, when rodents were given I3C before they were given carcinogenic chemicals, the number of tumors was reduced by 96% (1) and the amount of time it took to develop the tumors increased by 200%. (1)

The I3C in cruciferous vegetables works by protecting the DNA from free radical or glycation damage. In another study, the DNA damage from chemicals in breast tissue was reduced by 92%, in white blood cells by 82%, in the colon by 67%, and the liver by 69%. (2)

To achieve this level of protection, you would need to ingest between 80-240mg of I3C every time you ate a meal cooked at high temperatures.

It is tricky to determine exactly how much broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage one would need to eat to deliver these dosages of I3C. As always with whole foods, it depends on the quality of the food, the soil it was grown in and the conditions it was grown under, how well you chew, and your digestion – leaving us with many variables.

Considering all these variables, my best guess is that you would need to ingest 3kg (almost 7 pounds) of cruciferous vegetables to deliver 150mg of I3C.

Chances are, unless you eat like a gorilla, which eats upwards of 100 pounds of veggies a day, we will never come close.

My Advice:

  1. Limit the foods you eat that have been cooked at temperatures above 300 degrees. See last week’s blog for strategies.
  2. Eat a ridiculous amount of vegetables!

Here are the ones rich in Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C):

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel spouts
  • Mustard Greens
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
  • Turnips
  • Rutabagas

>>> Learn more new reasons to eat veggies


References: 0.  Anti Cancer Research 1995 May-Jun 1.  Food Chem Toxicol 2000 Jan

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