Food

Why We Love Broccoli (And You Should, Too!)

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Broccoli is known to be a hearty and tasty vegetable which is rich in dozens of nutrients. It is said to pack the most nutritional punch of any vegetable. When we think about green vegetables to include in our diet, broccoli is one of the foremost veggies to come to our mind. Coming from the cabbage family, broccoli can be categorized as an edible green plant.

Here are some of the benefits of broccoli:

1. Cancer prevention

Broccoli shares cancer fighting and immune boosting properties with other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Broccoli contains properties that depletes estrogens which usually cause cancer in the body. Research shows that broccoli is extremely suitable for preventing breast and uterus cancer.

2. Cholesterol reduction

Like many whole foods, broccoli is packed with soluble fiber that draws cholesterol out of your body. This is because the fiber in broccoli helps bind with bile acids in the digestive tract. This makes excreting cholesterol out of our body easy. According to a research by the Institute of Food Research, a particular variety of broccoli can help reduce the blood LDL-cholesterol levels by 6 per cent.

3. Reducing allergic reaction and inflammation

Research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. Broccoli even has significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which are well known as anti-inflammatory. Along with this, broccoli can also help people suffering from arthritis as broccoli contains sulforaphane, a chemical that blocks the enzymes that can cause joint destruction and hence lead to inflammation.

4. Powerful antioxidant

Broccoli contains antioxidants that can help the body in a variety of ways. Broccoli is deeply concentrated with vitamin C, making it great for immunity. Other than this, broccoli also contains flavonoids which help recycle the vitamin C efficiently. It is also enriched with carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and other power packed antioxidants.

5. Bone health

Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis. Along with calcium, broccoli is also full of other nutrients like magnesium, zinc and phosphorous. Because of these properties, broccoli is extremely suitable for children, elderly and lactating mothers.

6. Heart health

The anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane, one of the isothiocyanates (ITCs) in broccoli, may be able to prevent (or even reverse) some of the damage to blood vessel linings that can be caused by inflammation due to chronic blood sugar problems. Broccoli is great for heart health as it contains fibers, fatty acids and vitamins that help regulating blood pressure in the body. This also helps in reducing bad cholesterol, hence leading to a healthy heart. Broccoli helps protecting blood vessels from damaging as well.

7. Diet aid

Broccoli is a good carb and is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Along with this, broccoli is also great for weight loss because it is rich in fiber. It is an ideal green vegetable to include in your salads and completing your five coloured vegetables everyday. In addition to this, broccoli also contains proteins, making it suitable for vegetarians that are otherwise not able to complete their protein requirement.

8. Great for detoxification

Since broccoli is rich in fiber, it can help get rid of toxins through the digestive tract. Other than this, broccoli is also full of antioxidants that help in overall detoxification of the body. Broccoi includes special phytonutrients that help in the body’s detox process. This means that the body gets rids of unwanted contaminants. Broccoli also contains isothiocyanates, which help in the detox process at the genetic level.

9. Skin care

Skin care not only includes glow, but also its immunity. Since broccoli is a powerhouse of antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C and minerals such copper and zinc, broccoli helps in maintaining a healthy skin. This means it also protects the skin from getting infections as well as keep the natural glow of your skin. Broccoli is full of vitamin K, amino acids and folates, making it ideal for maintaining healthy skin immunity.

10. Eye care

Broccoli contains beta-carotene, vitamin A, phosphorous and other vitamins such B complex, vitamin C and E. All these rich nutrients are great for eye health as these help in protecting the eyes against mascular degeneration, cataract and even repairs damage done by harmful radiations we go through by being constantly on our phones or being in front of a screen.

11. Anti-ageing

Since broccoli is enriched with vitamin C, which has numerous antioxidant properties, it is great for anti-ageing. This is because antioxidants help fight the free radicals responsible for ageing. These free radicals often damage the skin. Eating broccoli regularly helps in reducing fine lines, wrinkles, skin issues like acne and even pigmentation.

12. Prevents and fights pollution and toxins

Broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable with a number of helpful vitamins, minerals. What makes it an effective anti-pollution food is its ability to act down on certain pollutants. It’s not the sprouts themselves but the components found in the stub which are good for the body. In fact, a study conducted in China found out that broccoli sprouts were particularly helpful in fighting and detoxing away the air pollutants from the root. When you eat broccoli, the phytochemical present in it, called glucoraphanin initiates a chemical reaction that attaches itself to the harmful benzene compound, breaks it down and recharges the body to excrete it faster, before it gets the time to do the damage on the cellular level. The same mechanism has also been found helpful to get rid of toxins associated with pollution and cigarette smoke. Hence, detoxifying the body by consuming a simple vegetable like fresh broccoli juice or smoothie as soon as you hit home can alleviate some of the health risks at the ground level.

The people in the new study who drank a concentrated tea made with broccoli spouts excreted 61 per cent more benzene and 23 per cent more acrolein, a lung irritant, as compared with a group who drank a placebo beverage.

About the author

Amenorhu Kwaku

Amenorhu kwaku is an author, internet marketer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of SuccessValley, a network community for students and aspiring entrepreneurs

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