Your parents had a point when they were encouraging you to eat broccoli. These leafy greens are powerhouses of beneficial nutrients.
Broccoli is one of the nutrient-dense foods reputed to benefit the immune system, cardiovascular system, and also has cancer-preventing and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also a fat-free leafy vegetable. Here are top 17 health benefits of broccoli.
1. Broccoli Has Cancer-Preventing Properties
The sulforaphane in this cruciferous vegetables helps to fight the cancer cells. The bitter taste coming out from the sulfur-containing compound is what gives broccoli the ability to fight free radicals and cancer itself.
Sulforaphane inhibits the secretion of the enzyme that has been known to help in propagation of cancer cells.
Besides, the compounds in broccoli known as isothyiocyanates appear to block and target mutant genes that are associated with cancer progression and growth.
It also has indole-3-carbinol, an anti-carcinogen and a potent antioxidant compound known to not only hinder the growth of cervical, breast, and prostate cancer, but also helps to boosts the liver functions.
2. Broccoli Is Good Help Combat Arthritis
Again, the sulforaphane in broccoli is responsible for this benefit. It hinders the production of core destructive enzyme that damages the cartilages in your bones.
By eating broccoli superfood severally in a week, you can help to prevent or slow down osteoarthritis. The sulforaphane is also helpful in tackling other illness in the body.
3. It Helps In Reducing Inflammation And Allergic Reaction
Being a good source of Omega-3-fatty acids, broccoli makes a natural anti-inflammatory vegetable. It also contains a compound known as kaempferol that helps to lessen the impact of any allergy related substances on your body.
4. It Helps To Reverse And Ease The Damage Brought By Diabetes
Not only do sulforaphane in this super-nutritious vegetable has great anti-inflammatory effects, but it also helps to reverse the damage that might be caused by diabetes pertaining the heart.
Studies done regarding this benefit pointed out that broccoli don’t counteract diabetes, but it is the sulforaphane present in it that encourages the secretion of enzymes that protect the body blood vessels, which helps to reduce the amount of molecules that can damage the cells.
5. It Helps In Improving Cardiovascular Health
This goes hand in hand with the above benefit. As the sulforaphane in broccoli has also been found to reverse or prevent some of the damage that might be caused by inflammation on the blood vessels lining due to the chronic blood sugar imbalances. It also means that frequent broccoli intake lessens the risk of heart diseases.
6. It May Help Improve The Kidney Health And Blood Pressure Control
The sulforaphane in the broccoli may improve your kidney function and blood pressure.
A study conducted on rats showed that victims of hypertension recorded lowered blood pressure and improved kidney function when given sulforaphane.
Related Reading: 7 Ways To Use Broccoli Stalks
7. It Has Anti-Aging Properties And Boost The Immune System
Sulforaphane in broccoli may also help to improve the kidney function and blood pressure significantly.
A study regarding these two benefits was conducted yet again on rats in which hypertensive rats that had low blood pressure and impaired kidney functions were administered with a dosage of sulforaphane.
After some time, their DNA methylation patterns within their body cells were found to stabilize.
8. It Has High Amount Of Folate
Significant amount of folate has demonstrated promise in protecting against colon, pancreatic, cervical and stomach cancer.
It has also shown to significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.
9. Broccoli Can Help Boost Bone Health
The high content of vitamin K and calcium in broccoli helps in maintaining stronger and healthy bones in the body as well as preventing osteoporosis.
10. It Is A Powerful Antioxidant
Broccoli stands out among all the other cruciferous vegetables as the vegetable with the most concentrated source of flavonoids and vitamin C or antioxidants.
Flavonoids is crucial in recycling Vitamin C in the body. Other concentrated anti-oxidants in the broccoli include zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene.
Glucabrassicin, gluconasturtiin, and glucoraphanin are special phytonutrients that supports the body detox process including neutralization, activation, and elimination of any unwanted contaminants.
These three phytonutrients are perfect combination that helps the body detox process and fortunately all of them are found in the broccoli in significant amount.
12. It Aids In Dieting
Broccoli is high in fiber and is also a smart carb, which aids in digestion, maintenance of blood sugar, preventing constipation and curbing overreaction in the body.
Besides, a serving of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of corn or rice with half the calories.
13. It Can Also Help Fight Cardiac Diseases
Kaempferol, a substance present in broccoli, has been found to reduce the risk of developing not only cancer but cardiovascular diseases as well.
14. It Protects Against Cell Death And Myocardial Oxidative Damage
When there is inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart for some time, this is called ischemia.
After the supply of oxygen has been restored and circulation gets back to normal, inflammation and oxidative stress damage can occur because there was absence of nutrients and oxygen. This is known as reperfusion.
Cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli, have been found to reduce and prevent the damage caused by oxidation of cells in the heart.
15. It Helps With Weight Loss
Speaking of calories, broccoli makes an ideal choice to help in weight loss for several reasons. The core reason being the presence of soluble fiber content which helps to curb overeating.
Besides, the high fiber content takes longer to digest which makes you feel fuller for longer. It’s also has protein, water, and fiber, the three things in food that helps with feeling full, in abundance.
16. It Alkalizes The Body
Just like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli keeps your body less acidic. When the body pH is out of balance, so many processes can get messy.
An imbalance in the body pH can lead to strokes, hypertension, weakened immune system, and mineral deprivation, just to name a few.
17. Broccoli Is Rich In Protein
It might not be as much protein as chicken, beef, or fish, but broccoli has substantial protein that’s close to the amount found in a cup or corn or rice.
The only difference is that you’ll be consuming more protein and fewer calories when you opt for broccoli over corn as your source of protein.
How to Derive Maximum Health Benefits Of Broccoli
The secret to getting the best from broccoli is not by eating it when steamed or roasted, but by enjoying it raw or tender-crisps. Eating it when it’s raw helps to protect its nutrients levels.
However, there is a better way to get maximum health benefits of broccoli; eating its sprouts.
Fresh broccoli sprouts are more powerful nutritionally speaking than mature broccoli. This makes you eat less quantity of this vegetable while maximizing the therapeutic compounds such as sulphoraphane.
This is good news to people who don’t enjoy the smell or taste of broccoli or those who are starting out.
When compared to mature broccoli or cauliflower, which are also known to contain sulphoraphane, 3-day broccoli sprouts have close to 10 times higher levels of glucoraphanin, as compared to mature varieties.
The best of all is that you can grow broccoli sprouts in your home garden quite easily and at a lower cost. You don’t need to cook them as they are best eaten raw, usually in salads.
This makes them a super-healthy easy food.
Previously, you only knew that broccoli was good, but you were never aware why it is. 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.