Health benefits from eating broccoli

Nature of broccoli

Broccoli belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables. Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage are some of its close relatives in the said family. Although it containslow calories, it is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, aside from having significant quantity of fiber. A cup of the vegetable provides vitamin C equivalent to an amount coming from an orange. It also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc [1].

Health benefits

Fighting cancer

A number of literature have claimed that taking broccoli willprevent the development of cancer. This effect is attributed to the substance sulforaphane which broccoli contains in high quantity. Based on research findings, sulforaphane could inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC) which has been incriminated to promote the progression of cancer cells.Hence, all foods containingsulforaphane could possibly impede the growth of cancer[2].

Based on epidemiological studies, apopulation who has been taking a lot of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, has low incidence of cancer. In addition, based on in-vitro and animal studies, it was found out that phytochemicals, such as sulforaphane, reduce the frequency, size, and number of tumors [3].

Improving bone health

If your intake of calcium is low, you will be prone to suffer from bone fractures. This happens because you at the same time have low intake of vitamin K which promotes the absorption, and reduces the urinary excretion, of calcium. If you take one cup of chopped broccoli, you receive 92 micrograms of vitamin K and 43 milligrams of calcium [2], thereby protecting you from bone fractures.

Looking younger

Frequent intake of broccoli makes you look younger. This is attributed to its high content of vitamin C which is a very essential antioxidant, fighting skin damages caused by too much exposure to the elements, such as the sunray andvarious air pollutants. When you take a lot of vitamin C, wrinkles on your face will be reduced and the overall skin texture will be improvedbecause vitamin C promotes the production of collagen which serves as the supporting structure of your skin. Unknown to most of you, broccoli provides 81 milligrams of vitamin C per one cup of the vegetable. Hence, good source of vitamin C is not solely confined to the citrus fruits[2].

Improving digestion and natural detoxification

Broccoli contains a lot of fibers necessary to provide bulk in your stool. With this condition, your bowel movement becomes regular, and constipation is prevented. Consequently, different kinds of toxins produced in your large intestine—and which could have been absorbed—are regularly eliminated, preventing the development of colon cancer which is attributed to thesetoxins[2].

Preventing the occurrences of chronic diseases

Increased fibers in the diet, brought about by increased intake of broccoli, will also lead to the prevention of coronary heart diseases, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and gastrointestinal diseases. It will also lower the levels of blood pressure and cholesterol. Since adequate intake of dietary fibers will ultimately lead to decrease in your total caloric intake, your weight may go down as well, helping you to reduce your weight [2].

Cooking broccoli

Cooking broccoli is not that hard and difficult. After cutting off the heads from the main branch, you wash them, and you can start cooking with water steam. In short, the vegetable is not mixed with, and submerged in, water; rather, it is the steam coming from the water that will cook it. However, if you want to improve the taste, you can cook the vegetable with a little water, then add shrimps, or meat, or sliced squid which was previously sautéed.

References:

  1. http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/All-Star-Foods/Vegetables/Article-Viewer/Article/91/health-benefits-of-broccoli.aspx
  2. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266765.php
  3. http://www.phytochemicals.info/phytochemicals/sulforaphane.php