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Why is broccoli so healthy for us?
What are the health benefits of broccoli?
What effect does broccoli have on our bodies?
How to prepare broccoli without losing all its vitamins and minerals?
In this short informative article, you will discover what makes broccoli so healthy, from fiber to vitamins and minerals.
First, what is broccoli?
Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family, along with cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. It is a branched, green vegetable with either purple or more commonly green flower buds. It can be eaten either raw or cooked.
Now let me introduce you to 7 amazing health benefits of broccoli.
1. Broccoli is full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals
What are the nutritional benefits of broccoli?
Broccoli isn't labeled a superfood, but its vitamins and nutrient-rich profile offer some real health benefits.
Broccoli is a good source of:
- iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, and magnesium
- vitamins A, C, E, K and a good array of B vitamins including folic acid
2. Broccoli improves heart health
Does broccoli enhance your heart health?
A study found that consuming steamed broccoli regularly lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing the total amount of cholesterol in the body.
Another study in the US also found that increasing vegetables in the diet, especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, could reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Broccoli keeps bones healthy and strong
Why is it good to eat broccoli to get healthy bones?
Broccoli is rich in Vitamin K, which is an essential nutrient for blood clotting.
It also plays an important role in keeping our bones healthy and strong, by increasing bone mineral density and reducing fracture rates in those with osteoporosis.
Adults need 1 mcg of vitamin K per kilogram of body weight, which means a 75kg adult would need 75mcg of vitamin K a day. Just 100g steamed broccoli provides 145mcg of vitamin K, so this nutrient can be easily achieved through diet alone.
Warning: if you are taking blood thinners you need to be mindful of your vitamin K consumption as it may interact with the medication. So check with your GP before making any dietary changes.
This video features the benefits of eating broccoli in your everyday diet:
4. Broccoli is good for your eye health
Is Broccoli good for your eyes?
Broccoli contains some carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin.
Night blindness is also due to a deficiency of vitamin A. Broccoli contains beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A.
5. Broccoli helps prevent cancer
Can broccoli prevent cancer?
There are no single ‘superfoods' that can prevent cancer. Certain risk factors for cancer are unrelated to diet. But there is clear evidence that eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cancer.
A key component of broccoli is a phytochemical known as sulforaphane. That component is also responsible for broccoli's slightly bitter taste.
Studies have shown that sulforaphane may play a role in:
- enhancing detoxification of airborne toxins, such as cigarette smoke
- and could help reduce the risk of certain cancers.
These cancer-fighting compounds are mainly found in broccoli sprouts, which can easily be sprouted from seed on your windowsill, just like growing cress.
6. Broccoli reduces inflammation
Should I eat broccoli to reduce inflammation? The answer is yes!
Broccoli contains various bioactive compounds that can reduce inflammation in your body’s tissues:
- Kaempferol has strong anti-inflammatory capacity in both animal and test-tube studies
- Tobacco smokers eating broccoli show a significant reduction in markers of inflammation.
However, more research is needed to better understand how broccoli consumption affects inflammation in humans.
7. Raw Broccoli or cooked?
A 2008 report found that boiling and steaming was best for preserving broccoli’s antioxidant status.
However, cooking can destroy its content in vitamin C.
Raw broccoli is best to preserve the levels of sulforaphane. I prefer it cooked… What about you?
In summary, you should really start to add broccoli to your weekly diet as a new way to cover your needs in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and thus to enhance your healthy lifestyle.