11 Incredible Benefits of Broccoli

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Broccoli has a wide variety of health benefits, including its ability to prevent cancer, improve digestion, lower cholesterol levels, detoxify the body, and maximize vitamin and mineral uptake. It also prevents allergic reactions, boosts the immune system, protects the skin, prevents birth defects, lowers blood pressure, eliminates inflammation, and improves vision and ocular health.

What is Broccoli?

Broccoli is a green vegetable, which belongs to the Italica cultivar group of Brassicaceae oleracea like cabbage and cauliflower. The most commonly eaten parts of it are the green or purple flowering heads, which are shaped like a tree, coming off a thick and edible stalk.

Broccoli Varieties

There are three main types of broccoli, which are popular in different parts of the world. They are as follows.

  • Calabrese broccoli: It is the most common type and is typically simply called broccoli.
  • Sprouting broccoli: This variety has many heads and thin stalks.
  • Purple cauliflower: It has a shape like a cauliflower and consists of tiny flower buds.

Broccoli Nutrition

Broccoli is highly rich in dietary fiber and proteins like tryptophan. It also consists of vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein zeaxanthin, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Along with that, it contains vitamin B6, folate (vitamin B9), vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Minerals in it include calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, sodium, potassium, selenium, chromium, choline, manganese, and phosphorus.

In terms of unique organic compounds, broccoli is a rich source of phytonutrient glucosinolates, flavonoids, and various other antioxidant compounds that boost our health in a major way!

Health Benefits of Broccoli

Health benefits of broccoli include the following:

Treats Cancer

Broccoli is wonderful for many types of cancer, including breast cancer, cancer of the uterus, prostate cancer, and cancers of organs like the lungs, colon, liver, kidneys, and the intestines. It is particularly beneficial for breast cancer and uterine cancer since it removes extra estrogen from the body. All this is due to the presence of strong anti-carcinogenic compounds like sulforaphane, glucoraphanin, diindolylmethane, beta-carotene, and selenium in it. Other nutrients which act as anti-cancer agents are vitamin C, A, and E, zinc, potassium and certain amino acids.

Detoxifies the Body

The presence of vitamin C, sulfur, and amino acids make broccoli a very good detoxifier. It helps remove free radicals and toxins like uric acid from the body, thereby purifying the blood and keeping away toxin-related problems such as boils, itches, rashes, gout, arthritis, rheumatism, renal calculi, skin diseases like eczema, and hardening of the skin.

Skin Care

Broccoli aids in skin care and gives you a glowing, healthy, and radiant appearance. The antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids, and folate, present in it, do this magic.

Protects from UV Rays

Glucoraphanin, a phytonutrient found in significant amounts in broccoli, has been connected with reversing the negative effects of sun exposure. You can turn back the clock on your skin by eating plenty of this beneficial vegetable.

Treats Stomach Disorders

Broccoli is very rich in fiber or roughage, which helps cure constipation since that is the root of almost all the stomach disorders. Fiber adds to the bulkiness of the food, retains water, and stimulates healthy bowel movements. The magnesium and vitamins present in it cure acidity, facilitate proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food and soothe the stomach by reducing inflammation.

Prevents Heart Diseases

Along with glucoraphanin, the high-fiber content in broccoli helps reduce LDL or bad cholesterol levels and keep the heart functioning properly. Also, reducing bile has a strong impact on cholesterol levels, thereby helping your heart health. Studies have shown that the fiber combines better with bile, making it much easier and efficient to excrete.

Eye Care

Zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin A, phosphorus, and other vitamins such as B complex, C, and E found in broccoli are very good for ocular health. These substances protect eyes against macular degeneration and cataracts, while also repairing the damage caused by radiation.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Broccoli is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which help prevent amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Recent research suggests that intake of diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce or delay the onset of Lou Gehrig’s disease. broccoliinfo

Boosts Immunity

Broccoli derives its purple and green color from antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, selenium, copper, choline zinc, and phosphorus. These compounds present are really great immune system boosters and they can protect you from numerous infections.

Improves Bone Health

Broccoli keeps the bones strong as it is rich in vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. Eating it can be very beneficial, particularly for children, old people, and pregnant or lactating women. That’s because these are the people most prone to osteoporosis, weakening of bones and teeth, and calcium deficiency. Moreover, vitamin K is essential for the formation of osteocalcin, which is a protein only found in bones.

Helps in Pregnancy

Broccoli is full of nutrients essential for pregnant women. It contains proteins, calcium, vitamins, antioxidants, iron, and phosphorus. Being rich in fiber, it also eliminates constipation, which is very common during pregnancy. The folate content in broccoli ensures that there are no birth defects such as neural tube defects, which is a major problem for pregnant women who have a folic acid deficiency in their diet.

Regulates Blood Pressure

Chromium, found abundantly in broccoli, helps in the proper functioning of insulin and regulates blood sugar, thereby regulating blood pressure as well. The potassium, found in broccoli, is a vasodilator. It helps boost blood flow and oxygenation of essential organs by relaxing tension and stress of veins and blood vessels. Magnesium and calcium also aid in regulating blood pressure and keep the heart protected from cardiovascular diseases like strokes or heart attack.

Treats Anemia

Broccoli is rich in iron and protein and hence, forms an excellent remedy against anemia. Copper is also another essential mineral in the production of red blood cells, along with iron. So include this green vegetable in your diet and prevent anemia.

Uses of Broccoli

  • Broccoli can be eaten cooked or raw.
  • You can steam it for a healthy meal.
  • Include broccoli in your salad and make it colorful.
  • Add it to soups and stews for a healthy appetizer.

Broccoli Side Effects

Although this amazing vegetable has a wealth of health benefits associated with it, there is always room for caution. The common side effects are as follows:

  • Gas
  • Bowel irritation
  • Allergic reactions
  • Skin rashes

Other than that, eat it in moderation, according to proper serving guidelines, and you can start enjoying the health benefits right away!

History and Origin

It has been a part of their cultural history dating back to the 6th Century BC. Broccoli was eventually spread throughout Europe and was widely cultivated. It didn’t make a significant appearance in the Americas until the early 20th century.  The largest cultivator of broccoli in the world is now China, followed by India. It is very common all over the world, particularly in Europe, America, and Australia, but not as much in Africa. It can also be found in some South Asian cuisines like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

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