Broccoli has a reputation of being a superfood. It is low in calories but contains a wealth of nutrients and antioxidants that support many aspects of human health. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, alongside kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga, and turnips. Let’s breakdown the top health benefits of Broccoli:
Improves bone health
Calcium and collagen work together to make strong bones. Over 99% of the body’s calcium is present in the bones and teeth. The body also needs vitamin C to produce collagen. Both are present in broccoli. Vitamin K has a role in blood coagulation, but some have also suggested that it may help prevent or treat osteoporosis. People with low vitamin K levels may be more likely to experience problems with bone formation. Getting enough vitamin K from the diet may help keep the bones healthy.
Boosts immune health
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that provides a wide range of benefits. It supports the immune system and may help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cataracts, and anemia.
Improves skin health
Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen, which is the main support system for body cells and organs, including the skin. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can also help prevent skin damage. Studies have shown that vitamin C may play a role in preventing or treating skin conditions such as shingles and skin cancer.
Aids with digestion
Dietary fiber can help promote regularity, prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract, and lower the risk of colon cancer.
May help reduce inflammation
Inflammation can be a sign of a passing infection, but it can also occur with chronic autoimmune conditions such as arthritis and type 1 diabetes. People with metabolic syndrome may also have high levels of inflammation. Broccoli may have anti-inflammatory effects! Scientists found that the antioxidant effect of sulforaphane in broccoli helped reduce inflammation markers in laboratory tests. They therefore concluded that the nutrients in broccoli could help fight inflammation.
May help protect cardiovascular health
The fiber, potassium, and antioxidants in broccoli may help prevent CVD. This is a condition affecting the arteries that can result in a heart attack or stroke. This benefit may be due to the antioxidant content of cruciferous vegetables, and particularly sulforaphane. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends increasing the intake of potassium while adding less sodium to food. This relaxes the blood vessels and lowers the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular problems. A cup of broccoli provides almost 5% of a person’s daily need for potassium.
May reduce the risk of cancer
Cruciferous vegetables contain a range of antioxidants, which may help prevent the type of cell damage that leads to cancer. One of these is sulforaphane, which is a sulfur-containing compound that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite. Some scientists have suggested that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli may play a role in “green chemoprevention,” in which people use either the whole plant or extracts from it to help prevent cancer. Cruciferous vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol. Research suggests that this compound may have powerful antitumor properties.
To sum up, this superfood is not only incredibly delicious and tasty, but has solid health benefits!
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