In a world where proponents of vegetarian, low-fat, and Paleo diets regularly duke it out online and at family gatherings, broccoli health benefits are universally recognized. Even among other venerable veggies, broccoli stands out as a powerhouse. Eating more vegetables is sure to boost your health and improve your overall well-being.
Far from being the villain on every child’s dinner plate, this superfood is actually linked to numerous health benefits. This article will present some of the health benefits, nutritional value, and main uses of broccoli.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
Many people may appreciate this vegetable for its flavor. You’ve probably heard something about its health benefits as well. However, in this article, we will try to go in depth about on these subjects, to learn more about what makes this humble vegetable so special. So, what are the health benefits of broccoli? Here are just a few.
Digestion and Detoxification
Like all vegetables, broccoli has a lot of fiber, which helps the body remove waste through the stool. In addition, broccoli has a unique combination of three phytonutrients: glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin, and glucobrassicin. These three nutrients work together to boost body detoxification.
Improved Immune System
This vegetable is high in vitamin C, which is known for fighting off colds and illnesses. In addition, UCLA researchers have found that this type of vegetable contains a substance known as sulforaphane. It seems sulforaphane may actually help reverse the decline in immunity that occurs as we age, though more tests are necessary to confirm the results.
Vitamin C is also noted for helping to combat the signs of sun exposure and aging. With high levels of Vitamin C, broccoli can be one tool in avoiding skin damage. Additionally, sulforaphane, a chemical in cruciferous vegetables, such as this, can help protect the skin from the sun.
Moderately Beneficial Against Cancer
Broccoli’s phytochemicals have been shown to prevent cancer and kill off its cells to a certain extent. Though it is not a miracle cure for cancer, these phytochemicals can help in combination with a proper medical treatment.
Polytechnic Institute has done research indicating that eating Vitamin K-rich foods such as broccoli can help create sturdier bones. Additionally, it is a great source of calcium, which doctors recommend for reducing problems with bones.
Broccoli’s Vitamin K and sulforaphane may also inhibit inflammation and slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
It seems certain compounds withing this vegetable may even prevent heart disease.
Broccoli Nutritional Value
What is the nutritional value of broccoli? To answer this, you must look at both general nutritional facts and the host of other health-promoting substances present in this vegetable.
General Nutritional Information
One cup of chopped broccoli contains the following:
- Calories: 30.94
- Protein: 2.6 g
- Carbs: 6 g
- Sugar: 1.5 g
- Fiber: 2.4 g
- Fat: 0.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.04 g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03 g
- Omega-3: 0.02 g
- Omega-6: 0.02 g
- Trans fat: 0
Many items on this list are significant to the nutritional value of this delicious green vegetable.
- The amount of fiber in 1 cup of chopped broccoli is worth 5-10% of the recommended daily intake. Fiber is necessary for healthy digestion and can help prevent certain diseases associated with the digestive tract.
- It has more protein than most other vegetables.
- In addition, it is very low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to vital nutrients, broccoli contains the following vitamins and minerals in abundance. These vitamins and minerals come with a host of health benefits as well.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that contributes to immunity and healthy skin.
- Vitamin K, present in high amounts, promotes bone health and is important for blood clotting.
- Folate prevents certain birth defects when consumed by pregnant women.
- Potassium helps control blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular disease.
- Iron is an essential mineral with many important functions in the body.
Broccoli is also a good source of calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
Antioxidant and Plant Compounds
This vegetable also contains beneficial antioxidants and compounds:
- Sulforaphane may protect against some kinds of cancer.
- Carotenoids deactivate free radicals, boost immunity, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Kaempferol, a natural flavonol, is being studied for its cancer-fighting potential.
Broccoli is primarily used as a nutritious side dish, sometimes raw, but often steamed, boiled, or stir-fried. It is a common ingredient in some Asian dishes, and it has a secure place in the popular cream of broccoli soup. Most people prefer the tender florets, but the stems become tender and delicious when cooked as well.
For those who want to take advantage of its numerous health benefits, but aren’t very fond of the taste, here are a few ways in which you can consume broccoli and mask the flavor:
- Chopped fine, broccoli is undetectable in red pasta sauces as it looks much like flecks of herbs.
- Pureed until completely smooth, you can add it to smoothies.
- Juiced with cucumbers, citrus or other fruits, broccoli blends seamlessly with the other flavors.
For a new take on this vegetable, try roasting it! It tenderizes tough stems and creates a crispy, irresistible, super-nutritious food. You can serve roasted broccoli as a side dish or as a light, healthy snack.
- One pound broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces, smaller than florets
- 1 ½ -2 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼-½ tsp salt
- Place oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees
- You must then coat broccoli bites with oil in a large bowl, before placing them in the oven.
- Spread the pieces evenly onto a large baking sheet, and sprinkle salt evenly on top.
- Roast for 20-25 minutes, until tender and visibly crisp in places.
- Serve hot.
With nutritional buzzwords and fads all around, sometimes it’s best to rely on classic wisdom. In this context, broccoli deserves its place at the top of the list of superfoods due to its health benefits, nutritional value, and versatility. Not only does this simple food provide wholesome eating options, but it also contains elements that actually fight ailments and maintain good health. Surely, with a resume like this, broccoli should be making appearances on every table.