Broccoli is a green colored flower vegetable belonging to the Brassicaceae family.
It is very low in calories but rich in phytonutrients; dietary fiber; vitamin A, C, K, B-complex; minerals like magnesium, iron, selenium, zinc and phosphorus; and healthy anti-oxidants. It is steamed, boiled, stir fried or even eaten raw.
Health Benefits of Broccoli:
- Anti-carcinogenic benefits: The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory constituent of broccoli lower chances of breast, colon, bladder, breast and prostate cancers. Studies have reflected that even half cup of broccoli consumed daily is beneficial in preventing cellular oxidative stress that lead to cancer.
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- Promotes heart health: Sulforaphane present in broccoli stimulate anti-inflammatory activities in our cardiovascular and cerebrovascular system. This helps to prevent stroke, heart disease and atherosclerosis. High quantities of dietary fiber present in broccoli help to control our blood cholesterol levels which further boosts our heart health.
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- Good for our digestive health: Its high fiber and isothiocyanate content promotes digestion, safeguards the stomach from H. pylori bacteria and by adding bulk to the food eases elimination and thereby prevents constipation. Moreover sulphoraphane present in the vegetable by inhibiting H. pylori bacterial infections prevents bloating, belching, nausea, ulcers and stomach cancer.
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- Anti-inflammatory benefits: Substantial amounts of glucosinolates, omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin K present in broccoli are effective in controlling and reducing inflammation. Its adequate consumption may help reduce the risk of inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disorder, metabolic syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
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- Enhances immunity: Being rich in antioxidant vitamin C, broccoli helps to increase internal resistance of the body to fight infections and therefore keeps common cold and flu at bay. Moreover its phytochemicals help eliminate toxins from the body and further boost our immunity.
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- Enhances eye health: The high amounts of Vitamin A and pro-vitamins including beat-carotene, zea-xanthin and alpha-carotene present in the vegetable is very good for our eyes as it helps to prevent night blindness, glaucoma and age related macular degeneration.
- The vitamin K content of broccoli is good for our bone health as it helps in formation and strengthening of bones. It also promotes calcium absorption and thereby keeps osteoporosis at bay. Vitamin K is also beneficial in preventing damage of nerves in our brain. This helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- Folate present in broccoli is beneficial in easing depression, fatigue and mental stress. It helps prevent neural tube disorder in neonates when consumed in right amounts during pregnancy.
- Glucoraphanin and antioxidant vitamins A and C present in the vegetable protect the skin from oxidative damage and prevent premature aging.
- Its vitamin A and K content is good for vitamin D metabolism.
- As broccoli is rich in fiber it makes you feel full and controls your hunger pangs. This curbs over eating and helps in weight loss.
Caution: Overeating of broccoli is associated with improper iodine absorption in our body, increase in intestinal gas and reduced effectiveness of blood thinning drug Coumadin as it contains large amount of vitamin K.
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