Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Superfoods

Don't pass on the broccoli if you want a versatile superfood.
Don't pass on the broccoli if you want a versatile superfood.

Raw broccoli is your ally against a host of diseases. It's full of strong cancer-fighting antioxidants that protect you from lung, colon, prostrate, gastric and breast cancer. Indole-3-carbinol, a special sulphur-containing compound in broccoli, can:

  • Stop multiplication of breast and prostate cancer cells
  • Inhibit reproduction of herpes virus cells
  • Slow the growth of thyroid and goiter cancer cells
  • Stop H. pylori, a bacteria linked to stomach ulcers and stomach cancers [source: Fahey, Zhang and Talalay]

Broccoli contains numerous disease-fighting minerals and vitamins, including chromium, an element important in regulating blood sugar and insulin. Its high levels of beta-carotene and folic acid help ward off cataracts. Folic acid stops the virus that causes cervical cancer. Broccoli is a good source of non-dairy calcium, a necessary element for strong bones and an agent that can lower blood pressure.

The vegetable may make you smarter, too. It provides iron, which is important for healthy brain function. It contains the trace mineral boron, which increases brain-wave activity and speeds up physical responses. And all that beta-carotene in broccoli improves your ability to think.

Sweet, hot and smelly, onions are one of civilization's oldest medicines. Read about them on the next page.