Hate it or love it the fact is you can’t deny the bounty of benefits that this green vegetable carries with it. It rightfully holds an eminent position among the world’s healthiest foods. Think of any new diet on hand and you will find broccoli a part of it somehow. A diversified vegetable that can be a part of a number of food options from soups to meals to drinks is something you must definitely give a chance to. Let’s see why the world is going gaga over it.
Where Did It Come From And What Are Its Prominent Features?
You may call it a sister or cousin to cauliflower, kale and cabbage as it is also a member of the famous cruciferous family and the plant species is known as Brassica oleracea.
Resembling a miniature tree in shape, it comes in green colour mostly and also in a beautiful purple colour sometimes. Here are the three varieties of broccoli:
- Sprouting Broccoli
- Calabrese Broccoli
- Purple Broccoli
Mostly eaten raw, you will see broccoli as part of some dish in every part of the world for sure. Often disliked by some people it is in fact a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals.
An Amazing Nutrition Profile:
You will fall in love with broccoli all over again when you look at the amazing nutrition profile. A single serving of broccoli is one cup but it packs way more nutrients for a cup of it. Here, have a look:
- Total Calories: 30 kcals
- Protein: 2.5g
- Carbohydrates: 6g
- Fibre: 2.5g
- Fat: 0.3g
- Vitamin K: 116% of RDI
- Vitamin A: 11% of RDI
- Vitamin C: 135% of RDI
- Vitamin B9: 14% of RDI
- Phosphorous: 6% of RDI
- Potassium: 8% of RDI
- Selenium: 3% of RDI
What are the Benefits of Broccoli?
You must have read the debate on whether it is a superfood or not, but we are not doing any of that as there is something more important to focus here and that is the plethora of benefits it carries. We are going to give you a detailed information of all the benefits on this space today. So, hold on tight:
- Packed with Antioxidants: One can never get enough of antioxidants. Is there anything like too much antioxidants? We don’t think so. The antioxidants in broccoli play a great role in its popularity. One of the top compounds that this contains is glucoraphanin which gets converted to sulforaphane that is a top antioxidant aiding in digestion. Moreover, sulforaphane also aids in reducing cholesterol levels, blood sugar level, oxidative stress which in return saves from diseases. Lutein and zeaxanthin which improve eye health to a great deal are also a potent part of it.
- Prevention of Cancer: Just like its other family members, broccoli is equipped with cancer prevention power. Researches have proved that broccoli is highly helpful in preventing breast cancer as well as uterus cancer as it depletes estrogen in the body which is often the cancer-causing agent. As per a recent study, it was proved that broccoli and dark leafy vegetables hen consumed release secondary plant products that have anti-cancer role. How this happens? Broccoli contains certain compounds that have the power to neutralize carcinogens as well as to stop the growth and spread of preventing cancer. So far, it has shown promising results in protecting against certain types of cancer like prostate, gastric, renal, and colorectal and bladder cancer. But there is more research required in the area.
- Reduction of Inflammation: As it is established that broccoli contains antioxidants and it is a no brainer that antioxidants prevent cell damage in addition to oxidative damage which are both responsible for causing inflammation. A study from Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that women who tend to eat more cruciferous vegetables including broccoli have lower levels of inflammation in the blood. A study was carried out where smokers consumed broccoli for few days and there was seen a clear drop in the inflammation in their blood caused by smoking.
- Reduction of Blood Sugar: Broccoli has shown a supportive role in controlling blood sugar in people with diabetes. A study was carried out in which all the participants had type 2 diabetes consumed broccoli sprouts for one month. The results showed decrease insulin sensitivity. The exact mechanism is unknown but researchers believe it could be high antioxidant content or the higher amount of fibre in broccoli.
- Anti-Ageing: This may grab your attention more than the rest. As broccoli comes naturally packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants, it is a great anti-ageing food as it gives you a healthy skin by reducing wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation and even acne. Before you rush to supermarket to grab your broccoli, there is more to it. Read up!
- Healthy Eyes: When was the last time you ate something that is for your eyes only? Well, now you know one thing. Beta-carotene, phosphorous, vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin B complex present in broccoli and all of them play a role in protecting eyes against cataract, muscle degeneration and repairs damage by constant exposure to screens.
- Heart Healthy: Being rich in fibre, this cruciferous vegetable is quite heart friendly and has also shown to reverse the inflammation in the blood vessels. Moreover, regular consumption of it reduces cholesterol in the blood as well. Broccoli also contains vitamins, fatty acids as well as vitamins that help keep the blood pressure in control.
With no serious side effect in view, broccoli is a great add-on to your diet and regular consumption of this heathy and nutrient dense vegetable will impart great health benefits on your body. The best part is you can consume it in both raw and cooked form. This is a kind of ingredient you can play around in recipes in a lot of ways. Add it to a soup, bake it, grill it or even add it to your daily green drink and experience the benefits yourself!