Health Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli is a tasty cruciferous vegetable that is growing in demand. According to USDA’s Economic Research Service, over the last 30 years, per person consumption of fresh broccoli has increased from 1.4 pounds in 1980 to 5.6 pounds in 2010. The rise in consumption could be due to its flexible nature as broccoli works well in salads, stir fries, curries, and soups. Plus, it is marketed as either a fresh or processed product and is available year-round in the market. The flowers and stalks are edible, whereas the bitter-tasting leaves are discarded.
Cruciferous vegetables offer a wide range of health benefits, and broccoli is no exception. It contains a substantial amount of nutrients including vitamins A and C, folic acid, fiber, calcium, potassium, and magnesium that are extremely good for your health. It is also rich in sulfur and several powerful antioxidants. Plus, this vegetable is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
1. Heart Health
In addition to kicking out cholesterol, broccoli can aid in keeping your heart healthy by strengthening blood vessels. The sulforaphane content in broccoli is an anti-inflammatory and may even be able to prevent and reverse the damage done to blood vessel linings, which is often caused by chronic blood sugar levels. Furthermore, according to Harvard University’s School of Public Health, broccoli’s B-complex vitamins can help regulate your body’s homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that increases in parallel to excessive red meat consumption. High levels of homocysteine in the body increase the risk of coronary artery disease.
2. Supports Skin Health And Repair
When glucoraphanin from broccoli is converted into sulforaphane the result is healthy skin and repair of skin damage.
3. Promotes Hair Growth
Broccoli contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium which promote hair growth. Vitamins A and C stimulate the production of sebum, an oil based secretion that acts as a natural moisturizer and conditioner for scalp and hair whereas calcium strengthens the hair follicles.
4. Cancer Prevention
Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body of H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Furthermore, broccoli 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 shares these cancer fighting, immune boosting properties with other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
Jarzabkowski emphasized broccoli’s digestive benefits, which she chalked up mostly to the vegetable’s high fiber content. Broccoli has nearly 1 gram of fiber per 10 calories. Fiber helps keep you regular and helps maintain healthy bacteria levels in the intestines. Broccoli also aids in digestion by helping to keep your stomach lining healthy. The sulforaphane in broccoli helps keep the stomach bacteria Helicobacter pylori from becoming overgrown or clinging too strongly to the stomach wall. A 2009 Johns Hopkins study on mice found that broccoli sprouts are especially good at helping in this way. Mice that were fed broccoli sprouts daily for two months reduced the levels of H. pylori in their stools by more than 40 percent.
6. 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.
Nutritional Facts of Broccoli (1)