Health benefits of broccoli

If you are trying to eat healthier, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli should be at the very top of your grocery list. If you or your kids are not big fans of broccoli, be sure to read the how to incorporate more broccoli into your diet section for tips and delicious recipes.

Looking younger

Broccoli is rich in vitamin C.

Broccoli is rich in vitamin C.

The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form (in fresh produce as opposed to supplements) can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture.

Many people automatically think of citrus fruit when they think of vitamin C, but did you know that broccoli provides 81 milligrams in just one cup? That is more than what you need in an entire day.

Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the main support system for the skin. Vitamin A and vitamin E are also crucial for healthy looking skin, both of which broccoli provides

Diabetes and Autism

For obese individuals with type 2 diabetes, broccoli extract may be what the doctor ordered. Scientists reporting in the June 14, 2017 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, found that a compound called sulforaphane in broccoli (and other cruciferous veggies like cabbage and Brussel sprouts) could turn down the activity, or expression, of 50 genes associated with symptoms related to type 2 diabetes. The scientists gave the compound (in the form of a broccoli sprout extract) to 97 individuals with type 2 diabetes over the course of 12 weeks. Though non-obese participants didn’t see any effect, the obese individuals saw their fasting blood glucose levels go down a significant 10 percent compared with a control group. The dose, however, is 100 times what is found naturally in broccoli, the researchers reported.

The same compound was also found to found to improve symptoms related to autism; those who took the extract containing sulforaphane showed improvements in verbal communication and social interactions.

Cancer prevention

Probably the most publicized health benefit of broccoli is its possible ability to help prevent cancer. A recognized chemoprotective agent, sulforaphane shows up more than 600 times in the U.S. Government’s PubMed database when queried in conjunction with the word “cancer.”

Sulforaphane has been under intense scientific scrutiny and hundreds of published studies suggest it might be an effective weapon in the fight against cancer. These chemicals sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol  boost detoxifying enzymes and act as antioxidants, reducing oxidative stress. They also may affect estrogen levels, which may help reduce breast cancer risk.

Broccoli can help lower cholesterol because the soluble fiber in the vegetable binds with the cholesterol in the blood. This binding makes the cholesterol easier to excrete, and consequently lessens cholesterol levels in the body.

Detoxification

Phytocheimcals glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin compose a terrific trio in broccoli. Together, they aid all steps of the body’s detoxification process, from activation to neutralization and elimination of contaminants. Broccoli sprouts may be especially potent in this regard.

Heart health

A daily dose of broccoli could prevent everything from arthritis to heart disease

A daily dose of broccoli could prevent everything from arthritis to heart disease

In addition to reducing cholesterol, broccoli can aid in heart health by helping to keep blood vessels strong. The sulforaphane in broccoli is also an anti-inflammatory and may be able to prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings caused by chronic blood sugar problems. And the vegetable’s B-complex vitamins can help regulate or reduce excessive homocysteine. Excess homocysteine, an amino acid that builds up after a person eats red meat, increases the risk of coronary artery disease.

Eye health

You’ve probably heard that carrots are good for your eyes, and that’s because they contain lutein, antioxidant that’s really good for eye health, and broccoli is also a great way to get it. Another antioxidant in broccoli called zeaxanthin is similarly beneficial. Both chemicals may help protect against macular degeneration, an incurable condition that blurs central vision, and cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens.

Digestion

The 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.

Broccoli is a great anti-inflammatory and may slow down the damage to joints associated with osteoarthritis. Sulforaphane may help people suffering from arthritis because this chemical “blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation. Broccoli’s isothiocyanates and omega-3 fatty acids also help to regulate inflammation especially in the intestinal tract, which can reduce chronic inflammation.

This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice. 

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