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All The Numerous Health Benefits Of Broccoli, Another Superfood

Belonging to the cruciferous vegetable family, broccoli is an edible green plant, whose large flowering head is eaten as a vegetable. The cruciferous vegetable family also includes cauliflowers, bok choy, cabbage, kale, and Swiss chard. All of these are nutrient-dense, and are excellent sources of phytochemicals called isothiocyanates.

History of broccoli


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Broccoli has been cultivated as an edible crop in the northern Mediterranean region since the 6th century BC, and from as far back as the Roman Empire, it’s been considered a valuable food crop. It was introduced in England from Antwerp in the mid-18th century, and in the United States by southern Italian immigrants.

There are three commonly grown types of broccoli. They are:

  • Calabrese broccoli, named after Calabria in Italy, and commonly referred to simply as broccoli
  • Sprouting broccoli, consists of a larger number of heads with several thin stalks
  • Purple cauliflower, consists of a head shaped like a cauliflower with tiny flower buds, and is found mainly in southern Italy, Spain, and the UK

Suggested read: 22 of the best superfoods and why they are super

Why consume broccoli

Broccoli should be considered a royal among vegetables since it’s filled with cancer-fighting antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s a superfood that promotes health and longevity.

Broccoli and the rest of the cruciferous vegetables are known to provide numerous health benefits. Some of them include: prevent cancer, slow aging, promote teeth and gum health, better bone health, promote wound healing, detoxify blood, protect liver, balance pH level and regulate blood acidity, improve hormonal health and adrenal gland function, improve fertility, improve cognitive function, and increase metabolism and help manage weight better.

Broccoli nutritional facts

While broccoli has amazing cancer-fighting abilities, it also is a powerhouse of several other nutrients that are highly beneficial for your health. Here’s the nutritional layout of broccoli:

Per 100g of broccoli provides-

  • 34kcal of energy
  • 7g of carbohydrates
  • 3g of fiber
  • 0g of fat
  • 3g of proteins
  • Vitamin C – 107% of daily value
  • Vitamin K – 97% of daily value
  • Folates – 16% of daily value
  • Vitamin B6 – 13% of daily value
  • Vitamin B5 – 11% of daily value
  • Vitamin B2 – 10% of daily value
  • Vitamin E – 5% of daily value
  • Manganese – 10% of daily value
  • Phosphorous – 9% of daily value
  • Potassium – 7% of daily value
  • Magnesium – 6% of daily value
  • Iron – 6% of daily value
  • Calcium – 5% of daily value

Health benefits of broccoli

Including fruits and vegetables of all kinds in your diet has always been associated with a reduced risk of many health conditions, and broccoli is no exception. In fact, broccoli might be an amazing bet since it’s a powerhouse of nutrients that can help combat a plethora of health conditions including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and help promote longevity.

Let’s take a look at some of the most amazing health benefits of broccoli here:

1. Broccoli fights cancer.

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Broccoli is a powerhouse of powerful antioxidants called isothiocyanate compounds, which fight cancer by reducing oxidative stress, neutralizing carcinogens, and fighting toxins. An average person is exposed to several toxins from a variety of sources – a poor diet, environmental exposure, heavy metals, and also the aging.

The phytochemicals isothiocyanates work to stimulate the release of certain chemicals that speed up toxin removal from your body. Cruciferous vegetables are antioxidant-rich and are known to inhibit cancerous tumor growth and put to a stop to damage to the DNA. So they’re known to reduce the risk of prostate, gastrointestinal, breast, lung, colon, and many other cancers significantly.

Not just fighting cancer, but broccoli also helps prevent cancer, thanks to the high levels of the phytochemical, sulforaphane. This compound is known to fight toxins in the body, thus helping lower the risk of some of the harshest forms of cancer.

Suggested read: All the amazing health benefits of the superfood, Chia seeds

2. Broccoli strengthens bones.

Vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and calcium are all nutrients found in abundance in broccoli. All of these are essential to maintain healthy bones, teeth, and nails. The high levels of vitamin K and iron present in broccoli are essential for maintaining bone mineral density. The calcium present in broccoli is vital in preventing calcium deficiency, while also helping build and maintain strong teeth and bones, especially as you age. Consume broccoli regularly to combat osteoporosis effectively.

3. Broccoli promotes heart health.

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Broccoli contains certain important chemicals that boost a natural defense mechanism that helps prevent the clogs in arteries, which might cause heart attacks. Broccoli boosts the blood-pumping ability of blood vessels, lowers heart tissue damage due to oxygen deprivation, and provides high levels of heart-healthy chemicals during oxygen deprivation, all thanks to the high content of vitamin C, antioxidants, and potassium it contains.

The numerous minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium, found in broccoli help reduce inflammation, fight free radical damage, and protect cardiovascular health. In essence, consume broccoli regularly to keep heart disease, atherosclerosis, and other heart-related conditions at bay.

4. Broccoli promotes digestive health.

Fiber-rich foods help keep the digestive system flushed and healthy, thereby promoting regular bowel movements, healthy gut and colon environment, and prevent constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and other related digestive disorders. Broccoli is one such fiber-rich food. The isothiocyanate suforaphane compounds present in broccoli help fight harmful gut bacteria to prevent oxidation, which could possibly lead to cancer within the digestive organs. Further, broccoli is known to support the body’s natural detoxification process due to the presence of several phytonutrients that aid in liver function and help cleanse the blood.

5. Broccoli promotes eye health.

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One of the least known health benefits of broccoli is how it protects your eyes from age-related disorders. The high levels of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that are present in broccoli are crucial for eye health, and maintaining good eyesight well into your old age. They help protect your eyes from UV damage and boosts night vision. Broccoli, which is rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C, is a natural remedy for macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in many older adults.

6. Broccoli promotes healthy skin.

Thanks to the sulforaphane compounds present in broccoli, you can maintain healthy, younger-looking skin well into your old age. These compounds help repair skin damage, and make your skin look and feel youthful. It contains high levels of vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which help prevent the breakdown of collagen, skin cancer, UV damage, skin inflammation, and wrinkles.

7. Broccoli promotes healthy hair.

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Vitamins A, C, and B6 that are present in abundance in broccoli, nourish and enrich your hair, strengthening it in the process. These vitamins are known to stimulate sebum production, the oily substance secreted by hair follicles, that is a natural moisturizer for your hair and scalp. This same sebum helps prevent dry and frizzy hair, keeping your hair healthy and strong.

8. Broccoli helps with weight loss.

Being one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, broccoli is a powerhouse of essential nutrients, while being calorie-poor. A cup of cooked broccoli contains just over 50 calories, but provides you with fiber, proteins, several antioxidants, and numerous vitamins and minerals. Being high in fiber, broccoli is a great in balancing blood sugar levels, giving an energy boost, and helping you feel fuller for longer periods of time.

If you want to lose weight quickly, include more high-volume, high-nutrient, low-calorie foods in your daily intake. Broccoli is one such vegetable that has a high water content, making you feel fuller, while also smothering food cravings and/or overeating. Thus, broccoli is excellent when it comes to managing weight.

Maximizing broccoli’s health benefits

To take full advantage of all of the numerous health benefits of broccoli, make sure to prepare it in a way that retains most of its nutrients.

  • Don’t overcook broccoli, which will destroy its nutritional value
  • Don’t microwave broccoli, since it strips it of its valuable nutrients
  • Store broccoli unwashed, in loose or perforated plastic bags
  • Left at room temperature, broccoli becomes woody and fibrous
  • The older it gets, the more it loses its flavors
  • Do wash it thoroughly in plain water before using it
  • Do steam broccoli lightly for only a few minutes, so as to retain most of its nutrients

Suggested read: All the amazing health benefits of the superfood, quinoa

How to use broccoli in dishes

Quick tips on how best to consume broccoli:

  • Use broccoli in stews, salads, and soups
  • Lightly sauté chopped broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper, and minced garlic
  • Add chopped broccoli to your next wrap
  • Add chopped broccoli to your flatbread or pizza before roasting
  • Add broccoli to your own pesto or pasta sauce
  • Eat raw broccoli with a dip or a light olive oil dressing

Now that you’ve read how beneficial broccoli can be, don’t forget to put it in your grocery basket the next time you go shopping. Happy eating!

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
All The Numerous Health Benefits Of Broccoli, Another Superfood
Broccoli is not just green cauliflower lookalike; it's so much more! Here are the numerous health benefits of broccoli, a superfood like no other!
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg