The Good, The Bad, and The Broccoli

Food as Medicine

It’s one of the most common questions our team hears when a new member looks at the Level 1 food list:

“Why isn’t broccoli on here!?”

And, honestly, it’s an understandable one. 

After all, we grew up knowing there wouldn’t be any dessert if we didn’t finish our broccoli.

It’s basically the poster child of “healthy vegetables.” 

And we’re not telling you that it isn’t healthy. 

Our Level 1 protocol isn’t a list of the “only healthy foods.” Plenty of healthy and nutritious foods didn’t make it onto the Level 1 Food List. 

The Level 1 protocol isn’t a catch-all list of “healthy foods.” It’s about decreasing stress and inflammation for your gut bacteria and the rest of your body. 

Doctor Ferro developed this list by observing hundreds (if not thousands) of individual client responses to a vast array of food. 

He saw that many people, especially in Level 1, experienced the telltale signs of inflammation and stress when eating broccoli.

 But if broccoli is such a “healthy” food, why does this happen?

That’s what we’re here to explore…

Cranky Crucifers?

Broccoli is a member of the plant family known as cruciferous vegetables. This family includes many common vegetables like cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts.

One of the characteristics of these vegetables is that they release chemicals called thiocyanates as a natural pesticide when they are cut, bitten, or damaged. 

Most of these natural pesticides are in lower concentrations in adult plants and are broken down by cooking or freezing. 

However, researchers have found that these compounds could potentially interfere with cell functioning in their pure form. They theorized that even small amounts of thiocyanates in broccoli could cause reactions or sensitivities.

Thyroid Thrashers?

These thiocyanates could also interfere with another vital organ- the thyroid gland. 

Thiocyanates can potentially disrupt your body’s processing of iodine, an essential element for healthy thyroid function. This interference with thyroid functioning can lead to hair loss, weight gain, skin issues, and fluid retention. 

Again, the cooking process usually removes the compounds in broccoli that could interfere with thyroid functioning. 

However, if you already have a thyroid condition or a sensitive thyroid, small amounts of thiocyanates could theoretically be enough to interfere with healthy function.

Rowdy Raffinose?

Broccoli, along with many other vegetables, contains raffinose. Raffinose is a complex sugar that isn’t broken down quickly by your digestive system. 

Raffinose makes it to the large intestine before your gut bacteria start to work on it. When they finally do begin to chew it up, the reaction creates significant intestinal gas

This build-up of intestinal gas may lead to problems. It can cause flatulence, bloating, and abdominal pain, especially if you’re prone to digestive symptoms. These symptoms can also be more pronounced during Level 1 before your microbiome heals.

Raffinose can be a double-edged sword. When your microbiome is healthy, raffinose is the kind of food that your gut bacteria love! But, if you’re microbiome is struggling, it could cause problems. 

The toughness of raffinose may be another reason members struggle with broccoli on Level 1 and why it’s not on the list.

The Verdict on Broccoli

At Betr, we don’t believe that there are “right” and “wrong” foods, but there can be foods that are right or wrong FOR YOU.

We find that broccoli usually falls into this category. Once tuned into their bodies, many members find broccoli doesn’t agree with them.

We’re not telling you not to eat broccoli. We’re simply freeing you from feeling like you have to eat broccoli.

We have no “beef” with broccoli!

It’s one of our top foods to try reintroducing in Level 2!

It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It can also be a delicious addition to any recipe or meal! 

If broccoli doesn’t bother you, and you enjoy it, then please- EAT YOUR BROCCOLI!

We just want to give you some “food for thought” and point out that no food, not even your beloved broccoli, is all good or all bad for everyone.

The Betr Health Level 1 and 2 protocol is designed to return your gut bacteria to their natural state. Once they reach this state, you can determine which foods fuel you and help you feel your best.

It’s not a diet. It’s a Betr way!

If you want more information about how the bacteria in your microbiome are fed, feed you, and support overall good health –  check out our extensive library of articles! 

After reading this article, you may be asking yourself if your own health hurdles could be related to an unhealthy gut.

Explore Betr's risk-free trial to see if you could benefit from using food as medicine to rebuild your microbiome and realize the healthy potential you never knew you were missing!