Top 10 Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli is a green vegetable that resembles a miniature tree. It belongs to a species of plant ‘Brassica oleracea’. It has a close connection with cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale – all edible plants collectively called cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse packed with lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. And if that is not enough to convince you to eat broccoli, then let us tell you that a cup of broccoli offers as much vitamin C as one orange, and is an excellent source of beta-carotene. Broccoli contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc too. It also provides fiber and is low in calories (100 g contain just 34 calories). There are three main varieties of broccoli:
- Calabrese broccoli
- Sprouting broccoli
- Purple cauliflower — despite its name a type of broccoli
There are numerous health benefits of regular consumption of broccoli. Read on to know how it can be beneficial for you.
Sulforaphane present in broccoli is the major component with anticarcinogenic agents. Broccoli is popular for its possible ability to help prevent cancer. Since broccoli comes under the category of cruciferous vegetables, it may be protective against some intestinal and stomach cancers. The American Cancer Society stated that broccoli’s isothiocyanates, including sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol boost detoxifying enzymes. They also act as antioxidants and reducing oxidative stress in the body. They also may affect estrogen levels positively, which may help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients present in broccoli contribute to the antioxidant benefits provided by our food. Broccoli is one premiere vegetable providing all three types of antioxidants.
Detoxifies the Body
Many toxins that pose a threat to our cells must be removed from the body regularly. The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from the glucosinolates in broccoli have shown to improve the body’s ability to detoxify itself. Broccoli intake and detoxification both are closely connected. By regular consumption of broccoli, activated toxic substances get hooked together with the nutrient components to allow excretion from the body. This helps us feel lighter and more active. A detoxified body will be able to absorb more nutrients, improves blood circulation, and helps in relieving stress. Need more reasons to eat these mini green trees at dinner this week?
Prevents heart diseases
In addition to the high content of fiber, broccoli also has high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, and other vitamins that are necessary for a healthy heart. They reduce the levels of bad cholesterol, reduced inflammation, and keep the heart functioning properly by regulating blood pressure. Potassium, found in broccoli, enhances blood flow. It also aids in better oxygenation of essential organs. Thereby, reducing stress in veins and blood vessels. Broccoli also has Sulforaphane that helps in preventing damage to blood vessel linings (caused by inflammation if a person has diabetes).
Lowers Cholesterol Level
Broccoli has cholesterol-lowering benefits. Broccoli is known for its high content of soluble fiber which helps to remove bad cholesterol from our body. How broccoli does that? The fiber helps binding cholesterol with bile acids in the digestive tract and this aids in better excretion of cholesterol from the body. A study has also suggested that a particular type of broccoli can significantly reduce the blood LDL-cholesterol levels by up to 6 percent. A functional variety of broccoli with a high glucoraphanin content – the ‘healthy’ compound of the vegetable – may reduce cholesterol by altering the body’s fat-synthesizing signal pathways.
Also Read : Health Benefits of Pineapple & Pineapple Juice
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, an antioxidant that as per research, has shown to limit glucose production in the liver of diabetic people. Broccoli can also improve glucose tolerance and regulate fasting blood glucose, especially in people who are obese diabetic patients. In addition, the research also suggests that it may also help improve insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and also prevent oxidative injury to pancreatic tissues. These “mini green trees” are low in calories, low in carbohydrates, and thus ideal for people who have diabetes or those who want to eat light but on a regular basis.
Improves teeth and bone health
If you have bone-related issues or you know someone who does, then you can find some solace in broccoli. We understand how painful it can be to have bone problems. Broccoli being an excellent source of vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, this wonderful green vegetable can help in maintaining bone density. It also contains a good level of iron too. Some experts say vitamin K also helps in building bones better than calcium. One cup of broccoli contains 270 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement. This vitamin, along with bones, also helps maintain your teeth. This means broccoli can help fight osteoporosis. Because of these properties, broccoli is also very suitable for children, elderly and lactating mothers.
As per research taking broccoli just for 3 days in a row can lead to a 200 percent increase in the production of proteins that promotes the generation of antioxidants in the nasal cells. And this can help in curing certain types of allergies. According to another research, broccoli sprout reduces nasal allergic response. It also decreases the effects of some pollutants on allergic diseases and asthma. Broccoli also contains quercetin and kaempferol, polyphenols famous for their anti-allergic immune response. Quercetin is one of the main ingredients in most anti-allergic drugs. Broccoli can also prove to be beneficial to treat other allergic (and respiratory) conditions like asthma.
Rich source of Vitamin C
Broccoli is a great source of immunity-boosting vitamin C with 89mg per serving. We generally think fruits, like oranges, are our best sources of vitamin C, one uncooked cup of broccoli provides over 100% of the recommended daily value. According to many studies, vitamin C may help with all kinds of disease prevention including cancer, cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and cataracts. Vitamin C is also a warrior against viruses like the common cold. Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other vitamins and minerals like selenium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc are present in significant quantities in broccoli. They help to strengthen your immune system and protect your body from various diseases and infections.
Keeps the stomach healthy
Broccoli contains high fiber or roughage which is important to cure constipation. Since constipation is the root cause of various long-term life-threatening conditions, if that is cured then half of your battle is won. The fiber in broccoli adds bulk to the food that you eat, retains water, and paves way for smooth bowel movements. Broccoli also contains essential vitamins which help to soothe the stomach by reducing inflammation and improve regularity. Broccoli has nearly 1 gram of fiber and only 10 calories. Fiber helps maintain healthy bacteria levels in the intestines. Broccoli also helps in digestion by keeping your stomach lining healthy.
Anti- Inflammatory properties
Broccoli is many anti-inflammatory properties and may decrease the rate of damage to joints associated with osteoarthritis. One study found that broccoli’s sulforaphane may help people suffering from arthritis. It is because this chemical “blocks the enzymes that ruin joints by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation in the body.” Broccoli’s isothiocyanates and omega-3 fatty acids also help to fight against inflammation. The flavonoid kaempferol present in broccoli decreases the impact of allergens, especially in the intestinal tract, which can help in reducing chronic inflammation.
Nutritional Values of Broccoli
Though everyone may not like to eat broccoli. But we have many reasons to keep that broccoli back in your grocery shopping cart. Another good thing about broccoli is its versatility. It can be enjoyed steamed or sautéed and acts as a great add on in many recipes. Broccoli is without doubt one of the most nutritious vegetables. It’s loaded with important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
One cup of steamed broccoli contains:
205 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C
190 percent of the RDA of vitamin K
46 percent of the RDA of vitamin A
24 percent of the RDA of folate
19 percent of the RDA of dietary fiber
17 percent of the RDA of manganese
15 percent of the RDA of calcium
Broccoli also contains significant amounts of iron, protein, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. Wait no more and make it a part of your daily diet.
Substantial Vitamin and Mineral Content in Broccoli
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin A
Choosing Between Raw And Cooked Broccoli
Cooking broccoli by microwaving, boiling, and stir-frying may lead to the loss of vitamin C and reduce the total soluble proteins and soluble sugars. However, steaming causes the lowest loss of nutrients in broccoli.31 Researchers at the University of Warwick have found that boiling broccoli will damage its anticancer properties.32 Thus, the antioxidant effect of broccoli is less when you cook it. So, eat it raw to reap the maximum benefits. The consumption of raw broccoli results in faster absorption of sulforaphane, compared to cooked broccoli.33
Broccoli is considered a safe food for all. However, there was a case of mugwort-mustard allergy syndrome (MMAS) reported after broccoli consumption.34 MMAS happens in individuals who are sensitized to mugwort. But, it is a relatively rare form of food allergy.
Tips to maximize broccoli’s benefits
To take advantage of all the amazing health benefits of broccoli, be sure to prepare it in a way that retains the most nutritional value.
- Avoid overcooking broccoli as it will destroy its nutritional value.
- Avoid microwaving broccoli as the process can remove valuable nutrients from it.
- Lightly steam the broccoli for just a couple of minutes. This is the best way to eat broccoli.
- You can add broccoli to soups and stews.
- You can also eat raw broccoli with dip or light dressing.
How to Prepare Broccoli to Retain the Most Health Benefits
If you must cook your broccoli, lightly steam it to keep the antioxidants intact. Never microwave your antioxidant-rich foods! Raw is best to get the full nutritional and anti-cancer benefit of broccoli. If cooking, here’s how to retain the most nutrients:
- Cut up organic broccoli a few minutes before cooking.
- Bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- Using a steaming basket, add broccoli and steam for approximately 5 minutes. The florets will be bright green and the texture will be “tender-crisp.”
- Serve with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.
Whenever you can, choose real food rather than supplements. Synthetic versions of vegetables are not the same and your body knows it! While you’ll get some of the benefit, most supplements simply aren’t absorbed well by your body.
Eat Your Way to a Cancer-Free Life!
When you follow a cancer-free lifestyle, you automatically lower your risk of many other serious diseases that claim the lives of millions every year.
Your diet is a crucial aspect of total body wellness! Choose wisely and shop responsibly, choosing local and organic whenever possible. Eat real food (not processed), and reap the benefits for decades to come!
Interesting Broccoli Facts
Broccoli was first cultivated in Italy back in the 6th-century B.C.E., and its name comes from the Italian broccoli meaning “the flowering crest of a cabbage”. The broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, along with the radish, turnip, mustard, and more. It was introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants in the 1920s and wasn’t wildly known until then. 77% of the world’s broccoli is produced in China and India. The part of the broccoli we eat is the flower and the stem.
A simple way to enjoy broccoli
Of course, if you don’t like eating just steamed broccoli, here’s a simple way to make it flavorful and keep its nutrition all at the same time.
Steamed Broccoli with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Lemon
What you will need:
- 3/4 lbs of broccoli
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
How to do it:
- Chop off the tough lower third of the broccoli stem, and peel the remainder.
- Cut the broccoli crosswise into slices that are 1/2-inch thick, then cut it into two-inch florets (or small flowers)
- Pour water into a steamer, and bring it to a boil. Set broccoli over boiling water steam and cover. Wait for four to five minutes, or until broccoli is crisp and tender.
- While the broccoli is steaming, mince one garlic clove. Combine it with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat the garlic mixture over moderate heat until the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Toss the garlic mixture with the broccoli and enjoy.
Precautions while taking Broccoli
- The excessive fiber content in the broccoli can cause gas problems or bowel irritation
- High amount of vitamin K can interact with blood thinning medication so people who are on blood thinning medication should be careful about the intake of Broccoli
- Hypothyroidism patients should be limit the intake of Broccoli
Closing Thoughts On: Is Broccoli Healthy and what are the Benefits of Broccoli?
Previously, you only knew some broccoli advantages, but you weren’t aware of all the broccoli health benefits.
There is no time like now, start including this nutritious and healthy vegetable in your diet today.
You can add it in a superfood salad, make a broccoli salad or even steam it with freshly melted cheddar or stir fries. It’s easy to prepare and super-nutritious. Give it a trial and watch your health improving.
While we love to share tips with you concerning fresh broccoli or broccoli raw just remember this is not medical advice and for anything for your personal heart health, essential nutrition, eye health, and dietary fiber nutrition etc… please consult your doctor.
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