Do you like broccoli?
Yes, broccoli. Those tiny tree doppelgangers that conjure up gag-worthy memories of childhood.
We’ve been told since we were children that eating broccoli is good for us. It certainly gets the health-halo for being a green vegetable. But most of us remember being forced to eat broccoli as a kid, making us swear never to eat those little trees ever again.
But do you know that this humble vegetable that has been the source of turned up noses around many dinner tables is now a nutritional showstopper? That’s correct, broccoli contains nutrients that researchers say can stop cancer in its tracks and prevent a host of diseases.
If you haven’t changed your mind about broccoli yet, I won’t force the issue. I’ll just let broccoli’s growing reputation as a superfood win you over.
The most publicized health benefit of broccoli is its presumed ability to help prevent cancer. Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. Broccoli also contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function.
Broccoli is packed with soluble fiber, significant levels of beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins that help reduce bad cholesterol and keep the heart functioning properly by regulating blood-pressure.
Research shows that broccoli’s B-complex vitamins can help regulate homocysteine levels in our body. Homocysteine is an amino acid that builds up after a person eats red meat, and at high levels, increases the risk of coronary artery disease.
Broccoli also keeps our blood vessels strong. The sulforaphane in broccoli is also an anti-inflammatory and may be able to prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings caused by chronic blood sugar problems. An important mineral, chromium, found abundantly in broccoli, helps in the proper functioning of insulin and regulates blood sugar, thereby regulating blood pressure as well.
Broccoli is very rich in fiber or roughage, the key dietary ingredient that can cure almost all stomach disorders by curing constipation, which is the root of almost all stomach disorders. Fiber helps keep you regular and helps maintain healthy bacteria levels in the intestines.
The magnesium and the vitamins present in broccoli also cure acidity, facilitate proper absorption and digestion of nutrients from food and soothe the stomach by reducing inflammation.
Reduces Allergy Reaction and Inflammation
Broccoli is a great anti-inflammatory and may slow down the damage to joints associated with osteoarthritis. This again is because of its sulforaphane content, which blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation.
Broccoli is also particularly rich in kaempferol, isothiocyanates, and omega 3 fatty acids. Research has shown that kaempferol lessens the impact of allergens, especially in the intestinal tract, which can reduce chronic inflammation. Broccoli’s isothiocyanates and omega-3 fatty acids also help to regulate inflammation.
Antioxidants are chemicals that help find and neutralize free radicals that cause cell damage that may lead to cancer. Of all the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli stands out as the most concentrated source of vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, which are all powerful antioxidants, plus the flavonoids necessary for vitamin C to recycle effectively.
Glucoraphanin, one of the phytonutrients found in significant amounts in broccoli, is connected with reversing the negative effects of sun exposure on our skin. Broccoli also has beta-carotene and vitamin-C, as well as other helpers like vitamin B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A & K, and omega 3 fatty acids, and they all get the credit for keeping your skin radiant and healthy.
Phytochemicals glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin compose a terrific trio which are especially potent in broccoli sprouts. These three phytochemicals help in all steps of the body’s detoxification process, from activation to neutralization and elimination of contaminants.
The presence of vitamin-C, sulphur and certain amino acids in broccoli also make it an excellent detoxifier. They eliminate free radicals and toxins like uric acid from the body, thereby cleansing the blood and keeping away toxin-related problems such as hardening of the skin, eczema, boils, itches, rashes, gout, arthritis, rheumatism and renal calculi.
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. They protect our eyes against macular degeneration and cataracts, and they repair damage done from by radiation. Broccoli also has lutein, the same antioxidant that has earned carrots the reputation of being good for the eyes.
Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, and other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and phosphorus, which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis. This is beneficial particularly for children, old people, pregnant women or lactating mothers because these are the people most prone weakening of bones and teeth, calcium deficiency, and osteoporosis.
Alkalizes Your Body
Our bodies need to be in a slightly alkaline state in order to ward off diseases. Broccoli is very alkaline. Like many vegetables, broccoli helps keep your whole body less acidic, which has a host of health benefits.
The same substances that are responsible for the green and purple color of broccoli such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and other vitamins and minerals, particularly selenium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, are also great immune system strengtheners that can protect you from numerous infections.
Roughly 20% of the energy you get from broccoli comes from protein, which makes it one of the great vegetable protein sources available. Most of the energy you get from eating broccoli is from complex carbohydrates It’s also a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating.
The consensus on broccoli is that it’s definitely good for you, whether you like it or not.
So if you are one of the many people on this planet who don’t like broccoli, maybe it’s time to give it another try.
Oh, and did I mention that eating broccoli also makes you happy? Only if you let go of the ghosts of broccolis past, that is.