The Benefits Of Broccoli
Broccoli has a number of health benefits. These include reducing cancer risk, increasing bone health, helping the skin to look youthful, improve digestion, and detoxification. Also, it has an extremely high content of vitamin K. This vitamin increases calcium absorption and benefits bone health in individuals of all ages. In particular, it benefits children and elderly people who are more prone to bone fractures. In order to obtain broccoli’s health benefits, it is recommended to include it as part of your regular diet. Usually, in a minimum of 2-3 servings per week. Also, each serving size should be about 1-1.5 cups.
1. Reducing the risk of cancer
Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family. This includes other vegetables such as kale, cauliflower, cabbage, and turnips. Eating cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of lung and colon cancer. Studies suggest that sulforaphane is what gives these veggies their cancer-fighting benefits. Sulforaphane is the sulfur-containing compound that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter taste. According to the National Cancer Institute, ” Women who ate more than 5 servings of cruciferous vegetables per week had a lower risk of lung cancer”. Studies also relate the reduced risk of prostate, colorectal, and lung cancer to increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables. This is a key benefit of broccoli. Although, it has also been suggested that some people metabolize the enzymes in broccoli differently from others. Naturally, this could depend on their genetics.
2. Bone health
Reduced intake of vitamin K is linked to a higher risk of bone fractures. One cup of broccoli provides 92 micrograms of this vitamin, well over 100% of your recommended daily intake. Broccoli increases bone health by improving calcium absorption and reducing calcium elimination. It also provides 43 milligrams of calcium in one cup. Broccoli is easily famous for being hated by most children. But together with the elderly population, they would highly benefit from the bone-strengthening quality of this green veggie. If the body does not get enough calcium, it begins to “steal” calcium from bones. This means that to prevent osteoporosis, keeping a high intake of calcium is important.
3. Youthful skin
The antioxidant vitamin C is most often associated with citrus fruits. However, broccoli contains 81 milligrams of this vitamin in one cup. Vitamin C helps reduce skin damage caused by sun and pollution. Also, it helps in improving overall skin texture. Vitamin A and E are also essential in order to maintain healthy looking skin. It protects the skin cell membranes while offering protection against UV radiation. Both of these can be found in broccoli. This is a great package deal!
4. Improving digestion and natural detoxification
Broccoli contains a high amount of fibre, which is a huge factor in preventing constipation. It helps to maintain a healthy intestinal tract and even lowers the risk of colon cancer. Naturally, it helps the body to get rid of toxins and unnecessary matter present in our daily diets. The magnesium and vitamins present in this vegetable also cure acidity and help soothe any inflammation of the intestinal tract. The feeling of a healthy stomach and digestive tract is essential for the well-being of any person. Therefore, this is a food that needs to be incorporated in one’s diet if they are feeling bloated, constipated, or just generally an irritated bowel.
5. Weight control
Broccoli is extremely low in calories with about 31 calories per serving. Also, it’s low in sodium and fat-free. Broccoli is an ideal treat if you’re trying to lose weight or maintaining a healthy diet. The high fibre content also prevents bloating and helps to maintain a healthy intestinal tract. Fibre also makes you feel full sooner when eating a meal. This means that you will eat less food, and therefore reduce you calorie intake per meal. Another benefit of fibre is that it delays the secretion of ghrelin, a hormone that causes the feeling of hunger. It also prevents peaks in blood sugar by slowing the absorption of glucose. That way, it prevents excess sugar from being stored as fat. This helps slow down on snacking in-between meals and reduces our intake of calories.
6. Blood pressure and kidney function
The Sulphoraphane found in broccoli helps to reduce blood pressure and improves kidney function. The potassium and magnesium in broccoli help relax blood vessels and improves blood flow. According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, ” Another compound, glucoraphanin, may also reduce risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke”. In order to benefit from these qualities, it is recommended to eat about one serving of broccoli a day. This might seem like a lot! But, it is possible to include this veggie in your diet not only cooked or steamed, but also raw. That way, it can be enjoyed with dips such as hummus. Or, you can even juice and mix it with different fruits and veggies, also juiced!
7. Eye care and cataracts
Zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin A, phosphorus, and other vitamins such as B complex, C, and E found in broccoli are very good for eye health. Cataract formation is prevented while repairing the damage from exposure to the sun’s radiation. For this, one cup of broccoli contains 2015 micrograms of Lutein and Zeaxanthin, both of which protect the retina against oxidative damage.
8. Reducing allergy reaction and inflammation
Broccoli is a particularly rich source of kaempferol and isothiocyanates. These are anti-inflammatory nutrients that can lessen the impact of allergic reaction in our body. There are also significant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. As you know, they have anti-inflammatory properties. According to the Boston University School of Medicine, high amounts of vitamin K contained in broccoli may slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Those who suffer from this disease can benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of this product. Of course, this is because it can reduce the pain caused by joint inflammation.
Eat more broccoli!
After having researched the benefits of broccoli, I was surprised to find just how many beneficial nutrients can be found in this vegetable. Also, this veggie is considered a superfood! How can it not be, since there are so many benefits listed above? The main properties that can benefit one’s health are definitely the high vitamin K and calcium content. These are essential for bone strength. Also, the high fibre content helps maintain a healthy digestive system, helps prevent colorectal cancer, and also aids in weight control and weight loss. It does this by maintaining stable blood-sugar levels and prolonging the “full” feeling after a meal. These many benefits should encourage the you to consume more broccoli as a regular part of a diet. Ideally, with 2-3 servings per week. For that, here a few salad recipes for you to enjoy broccoli!