Broccoli provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals while providing fiber, protein, natural sugars, and phytonutrients that may help lower the risk of chronic disease. It has staunched anti-cancer properties and contains vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, calcium, and iron.
There are three types of broccoli:
- Calabrese broccoli
- Sprouting broccoli
- Purple cauliflower — despite its name a type of broccoli
Broccoli is one of the most popular cruciferous vegetables in the world, broccoli holds to its reputation as a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and an assortment of phytonutrients including sulforaphane.
Health Benefits of Broccoli:
1. Packed with Vitamins, Minerals, and Bioactive Compounds
Eat broccoli and you will be getting many nutrients besides vitamin C and that’s because broccoli contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and other bioactive compounds. One serving size of broccoli equates to only 30 calories, yet the vegetable provides our body with 86 percent of our daily vitamin C needs.
One cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli packs:(1)
- Carbs: 6 grams
- Protein: 2.6 gram
- Fat: 0.3 grams
- Fibre: 2.4 grams
- Vitamin C: 135% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 116% of the RDI
- Vitamin B9 (Folate): 14% of the RDI
- Potassium: 8% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 6% of the RDI
- Selenium: 3% of the RDI
Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes arugula, cabbage, collard greens, radish, and mustard sprouts. If you think you do not like broccoli, the problem may be the way it is prepared. This vegetable thrives when exposed to heat; if you prefer to steam it rather than stir-fry it, you are in for a pleasant surprise!
What makes broccoli so special? Nutritionally, it is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds and broccoli is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and carotenoids (mostly zeaxanthin). It also contains phenolic compounds like sulforaphane (a powerful free radical scavenger), quercetin (which helps to relax blood vessels), kaempferol (which helps protect against heart disease).
2. Contains Potent Antioxidants That Offer Health-Protective Effects
The glucoraphanin in broccoli is converted into sulforaphane when digested, and the benefits of this compound are many. Sulforaphane has been found to reduce DNA damage and DNA mutations, induce phase 2 enzymes (which aid in the removal of cell-damaging elements), and protect against toxins and inflammatory reactions. By protecting the body from these elements, phytochemicals like sulforaphane can help shield it against cancer and other chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Each cell in your body needs the right balance of oxygen to function properly. Without it, cells can lose efficiency, which can compromise your health over time. Broccoli contains measurable amounts of the antioxidant lutein and zeaxanthin, which may prevent oxidative stress and cellular damage in your eyes.
Antioxidants found in broccoli may protect against numerous diseases, including some types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cataract.
3. Bioactive Compounds May Contribute to Reduced Inflammation
Brassica oleracea vegetables, like broccoli, contain many bioactive compounds that help reduce inflammation in your body’s tissues.
Broccoli is the quintessential superfood. Packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber, it is no surprise that it is one of the most popular veggies on the planet. It contains vitamin K, folate, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese. Broccoli has been shown to reduce inflammation in your body’s tissues as well as inhibit a protein that can lead to cancerous tumors.
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy body is to follow a nutrient-rich diet loaded with anti-inflammatory foods such as broccoli. These cruciferous vegetables contain several bioactive compounds including kaempferol, which has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory activity in both animal and test-tube studies.
4. May Protect Against Certain Types of Cancer
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are associated with a reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer. Studies show that sulforaphane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables, may reduce cell damage caused by certain chronic diseases. Although more studies are needed, eating 3–4 servings of cruciferous vegetables each week may contribute to cancer prevention like-
Broccoli is a reliable source of antioxidants as well as selenium, a trace mineral that may decrease the risk of both prostate and colorectal cancers. It is also a good source of fiber, along with vitamins A and C, potassium, and iron. When it comes to cancer prevention, the benefits of broccoli may be most apparent when it is a part of a diet rich in a variety of vegetables for all colors.
5. Antioxidants and Fiber May Aid Blood Sugar Control
Broccoli is well-known for its ability to help prevent cancer and heart disease. Now there may be an additional benefit to eating broccoli: better blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable that may help lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. One human study found that people who ate fresh broccoli sprouts for one month had significantly greater insulin sensitivity compared to those who did not eat broccoli sprouts. Eating foods that are low in calories and rich in nutrients, such as broccoli, can help you achieve a healthy weight and have a reduced risk of developing or worsening type 2 diabetes. Eating a variety of healthy foods will also give you the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy body.
Broccoli contains a significant number of antioxidants and fiber compounds. It may aid in better blood sugar control and improved insulin resistance in people with diabetes. More research is needed to support the effects of this vegetable.
6. May Support Heart Health in a Variety of Ways
The Sulforaphane found in broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables) is the subject of healthy debates, but one thing is for sure is eating broccoli may boost your heart’s health in a variety of ways!
Broccoli is known to boost the health of the heart. Studies suggest that broccoli may help improve an overly fatty diet, reduce cholesterol levels, lower cardiovascular disease risks, and even fight some types of cancer.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, a family of highly nutritious plants. It is a great addition to any meal and adds flavor to soups, salads, and casseroles.
Powdered broccoli sprout supplements contain an array of broccoli nutrients not found in the florets. One study noticed significantly reduced triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels in people who were treated with a powdered broccoli sprout supplement. Additionally, some research also supports the notion that specific antioxidants in broccoli may reduce your overall risk of a heart attack.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables and includes among its nutrients beta-carotene, fiber, and vitamin C. When eaten fresh or cooked, broccoli can support heart health in a variety of ways.
7. Promotes Healthy Digestion and Reduced Constipation
Broccoli may help eliminate waste more easily by loosening stools to promote bowel regularity. Fiber-rich foods are part of a healthy diet but may also help regulate bowel function. Looking for additional vitamin and mineral support is an essential vitamin and mineral supplement.
Studies suggest that the water-soluble antioxidant found in broccoli, vitamin C, may play a role in maintaining healthy gut function. Likewise, fiber-rich foods like broccoli are known to promote regular bowel movements.
Broccoli is a rich source of sulforaphane glucosinolates, which take the body from a pro-inflammatory state to an anti-inflammatory state by inhibiting histone deacetylases. In addition, its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties make broccoli a perfect food to promote healthy digestion and reduce constipation.
While more research is needed to determine whether broccoli could help maintain healthy digestion in the long term, the results of this human study offer promising findings in the near term. If you are looking for ways to promote digestive health, adding broccoli to your diet might be an effective way to do so.
8. May Slow Mental Decline and Support Healthy Brain Function
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may play a role in preventing mental decline and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. One popular vegetable, broccoli, is high in certain nutrients and bioactive compounds that may help support your brain and nervous tissue.
Broccoli and spinach may help slow mental decline associated with aging, and they also support healthy brain and nervous tissue function. Bioactive compounds found in many dark green vegetables offer support to the neurotransmitters that allow communication between cells in the body.
Sulforaphane is the naturally occurring plant chemical found in broccoli that may reduce the risk of cancer and slow mental decline among people with mild memory loss.
Sulforaphane from broccoli sprouts has been shown in some studies to protect the brain from the generation of harmful compounds after toxic exposure or brain injury. In a study conducted on ischemic stroke in mice, sulforaphane treatment resulted in a significant reduction of cell damage and death in the ischemic area.
9. May Help Slow the Aging Process
Though aging is an unavoidable natural process, diet quality is thought to be a major player in determining genetic expression and development of age-related diseases. Pronounced loss of cognitive function, increases in cancer rates, and cardiovascular disease is all-important clinical endpoints that are often attributed to aging.
Preliminary research indicates that sulforaphane in broccoli may help protect your cells from oxidative stress, but more studies are needed to determine the effects of sulforaphane on aging.
Scientific studies suggest that eating one or two servings of broccoli each week may help your body promote healthy cells, protect against chronic disease, and keep you looking young.
10. Vitamin C Content Supports a Healthy Immune System
Vitamin C is the most essential nutrient for immune function. Broccoli is loaded with it, providing nearly 2x the daily value in just one serving. Plus, it is 100% natural, whole food with no added preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors, gluten-free, and suitable for vegetarians.
In addition to the high vitamin C content, broccoli also contains a host of other nutrients that help maintain immune function. These include beta-carotene, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc. Moreover, sulforaphane in broccoli is a potent inducer of enzymes thought to protect against carcinogens.
While broccoli provides 84% of your daily needs of vitamin C, it also offers a healthy amount of other important nutrients. Broccoli is considered an excellent source of vitamin K, providing 104% of the RDI in one serving. It is also a useful source of folate, with 3.2 mcg per cup (157 grams).
11. May Support Dental and Oral Health
The nutrients in broccoli help to develop and maintain a healthy mouth and teeth. Broccoli contains vitamin C and calcium, which helps build and maintain strong bones in the mouth, and vitamin A, which prevents tooth decay. It contains all sorts of other nutrients and substances that may also support oral health and prevent dental disease.
Use broccoli as a nutrient-rich, crunchy snack to support healthy teeth and gums. Larger florets provide the greatest benefits and can be eaten raw or blanched and stir-fried. Raw broccoli has been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
Raw broccoli is said to be safe for teeth, especially when eaten raw or slightly steamed. Sulforaphane has the ingredient that may damage the Streptococcus mutant bacterium in plaque formation, which can cause cavities and other dental problems.
12. May Promote Healthy Bones and Joints
Since broccoli is a highly nutritious food, it is no wonder that it has such an impressive nutrient profile. It is a useful source of vitamin K and calcium, two nutrients that support healthy bone formation. It also contains phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A and C, all of which are important for maintaining bones.
The sulforaphane found in broccoli may help prevent osteoarthritis, according to a recent study. In this test-tube research, the compound was shown to protect bone cells from “oxidative stress,” which can cause cell death and inflammation.
Broccoli is thought to be protective against osteoarthritis due to its high vitamin C content. It has also been suggested that it may prevent cancer and heart disease. However, a study in 10 men found no significant influence on blood cholesterol levels by consuming large amounts of broccoli.
A healthy diet low in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become porous and weak increasing the risk of bone fracture. Sufficient intakes of calcium and vitamin D are critical to healthy bone growth and strong bones later in life. The benefits above are limited to the general population. Women with an elevated risk of osteoporosis may wish to further emphasize dietary calcium.
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