Broccoli is one of those vegetables that people either hate or love. It’s a vegetable that is often roasted, or buttered, served alongside some heavy meat main dish, like steak or chicken. The texture is similar to that of its relative, cauliflower, only that the florets are more delicate, and disintegrates easily. The stem is hard and is inedible, but the top of the broccoli is skimmed off for consumption.
It belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family along with kale, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, rutabaga, collard greens, and turnips. The vegetables that were mentioned are packed with vitamins and minerals for only a few calories. (LD, 2017)
If you are one of those people who are not fond of broccoli, it is the time for you to change your mind. We’ll be presenting the various health benefits of broccoli.
1. Broccoli helps fight off cancer
While it is already general knowledge that incorporating high amounts of vegetables and fruits into your diet can help reduce the risk of many lifestyle-related diseases from developing, one general health benefit of broccoli (along with the vegetables from its cruciferous family) is that it has been proven to lower the risk of cancer; particularly lung and colon cancer. (LD, 2017)
Numerous studies have been carried out and all came to the same conclusion: the one compound that is responsible for broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables is sulforaphane. Studies have found out that sulforaphane can inhibit the enzyme HDAC (histone deacetylase). HDAC is linked to the progression and division of cancer cells. At present, the compound and its capabilities are still being studied for potential cancer treatment usage in the future. But for now, it has been proven to slow down cancer in melanoma, esophageal, prostate, and pancreatic cancer. (Webb, 2011)
Aside from showing promising results of slowing down cancer, researches have concluded that sulforaphane prevents cancer from metastasizing. Researchers from the Oregon State University have found out that sulforaphane successfully reduced the expression of long, noncoding RNA, in prostate cancer cells, which prevented the affected cells from forming colonies – which is the first form of a cancer to metastasize. (Whiteman, 2017)
In layman’s terms, it means that the compound sulforaphane, found in broccoli, has exhibited the ability to prevent cancer cells from forming colonies, which is, necessary for a cancer to move to other parts of the body.
Interestingly, broccoli is the one that contains the highest amount of the compound sulforaphane from all the vegetables found in the cruciferous family. (Barrie, 6 Cancer-Fighting Foods, 2012)
Check this out: Everything You Need to Know About Kale (“Superfood of the Century” and “The King of All Vegetables.”)
2. Broccoli promotes good bone health
Vitamin K plays a vital role in keeping the bones healthy. While in general, Vitamin K is cited as the biochemical responsible for blood clotting, studies have also concluded that Vitamin K plays a role in bone metabolism and potentially preventing osteoporosis. (Pearson, 2007)
An extensive review of all the literature available regarding the human epidemiologic and intervention studies have concluded that Vitamin K can increase bone density in people suffering from osteoporosis. Additionally, researchers have found out that Vitamin K can reduce fracture rates. There are also evidences that Vitamin K works in synergy with Vitamin D in increasing the bone density. (P, 2001)
A low bone density means that you have poor bone health, and are susceptible to developing osteoporosis, which is a condition characterized by fragile bones that are easy to break. Bone density determines the strength of your bones, and it is important to have a high bone density always, especially if you are nearing your 50s, in which case, the chances of developing osteoporosis becomes higher. (Bone Health for Life: Health Information Basics for You and Your Family, 2018)
Luckily, one cup of chopped broccoli contains 92 micrograms of Vitamin K, which already covers your everyday recommended intake of Vitamin K. Aside from Vitamin K, broccoli also contains calcium, for 43 milligrams for every one cup. (LD, 2017)
3. Broccoli keeps you looking young
One of the many factors as to why you might look older than you are is the appearance of tired, wrinkled and sagging skin on the face. This may be caused by lack of sleep, constant exposure from the sun or stress, or a combination of all three causes. The skin plays a huge part as to how young you look, as well as your weight and your style. (Pande, 2015)
The good thing is that broccoli is high in the antioxidant Vitamin C. When Vitamin C is eaten in its natural form, it is effective in fighting skin damage caused by harmful exposure from the sun. And this will also help improve the overall texture of your skin, to smooth out the lumps and the bumps that add another 10 years to your actual age. (LD, 2017)
Broccoli contains 81 milligrams of Vitamin C in one cup. Aside from Vitamin C, broccoli also provides Vitamin A and Vitamin E, all of which are crucial to making the skin look young and glowing. Moreover, broccoli stimulates the production of collagen, which is the support system of the skin to make it look young and supple. (LD, 2017)
4. Broccoli can improve digestive health
Eating food that are high in fiber can have lots of health benefits, more specifically, it benefits the digestive system. Fiber normalizes bowel movements, which is necessary to keep the body functioning at its maximum potential. Moreover, fiber decreases the risk of having irritable bowel movements, because it bulks and softens up the stool (which is how you want your stool to be). By incorporating high amounts of fiber in your diet, you are avoiding the development of bowel-related diseases such as hemorrhoids and even colorectal cancer. (Staff)
Broccoli actually tops at Number 9 for 22 High-Fiber Foods You Should Eat article by Healthline. It contains around 2.4 grams of fiber per cup, roughly 2.6 grams for every 100 gram of chopped broccoli. Moreover, broccoli is considered to be one of the most nutrient-dense food in the world. And it contains lots of vitamins and minerals necessary for biological processes. (Gunnars, 2018)
Good Recipes with Broccoli
- Beef Broccoli Recipe
- Easy Beef and Broccoli in Oyster Sauce Recipe
- Garlicky Chicken with Broccoli Recipe
- Other Recipes
Learned more about broccoli? Share this to others!
Barrie, L. (2012).
Barrie, L. (2012, July 31). 6 Cancer-Fighting Foods. Retrieved from Health: https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20430736,00.html
Bone Health for Life: Health Information Basics for You and Your Family. (2018, April 1). Retrieved from National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: e
Gunnars, K. (2018, August 10). 22 High-Fiber Foods You Should Eat. Retrieved from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/22-high-fiber-foods
LD, M. W. (2017, December 8). The many health benefits of broccoli. Retrieved from Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266765.php
P, W. (2001). Vitamin K and bone health. Retrieved from PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11684396
Pande, D. R. (2015, November 9). Your concerns: I look older than my age. Retrieved from The New Times: https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/194208
Pearson, D. (2007). Bone health and osteoporosis: the role of vitamin K and potential antagonism by anticoagulants. Retrieved from PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17906277
Staff, M. C. (n.d.). Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983
Webb, D. (2011, October). Powerful Prostate Cancer Fighters — From Arugula to Wasabi, Cruciferous Veggies Pack a Powerful Punch. Retrieved from Today’s Dietitian: https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/100111p20.shtml
Whiteman, H. (2017, March 18). How does broccoli help prevent cancer? Study sheds light. Retrieved from Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316448.php