We might have seen that green cauliflower-like vegetable adorning the shelves of huge supermarkets. Until recently, it was considered an exotic vegetable but not anymore, thanks to the availability and popularity.
Yes, we are talking about our very own broccoli!
But this cruciferous wonder-cum-nutritional vegetable is actually not new as we think. Broccoli is an edible flowering head going back to as far as the 6th century BC.
Eaten enthusiastically by the Romans, broccoli landed in England in the mid-18th century and consequently, reached the US.
So how does this green veggie improve our health?
The health benefits of broccoli are endless, and research has shown that it has positive impacts on more than one part of the body.
For all the fitness enthusiasts, here is the good news! Broccoli keeps the stomach full for a longer period of time and at the same time, has very few calories.
Health benefits of broccoli
1. Helps prevent cancer
This is undoubtedly one of the most important health benefits of broccoli.
According to the National Cancer Institute, cruciferous veggies like broccoli contain glucosinolates (chemicals containing sulfur) which, while being cooked, chewed, and digested, break down to form biologically active compounds.
One of them contains potent anti-cancer properties – indole-3-carbinol. In fact, according to research, the risk of cancer is reduced by 60% by eating just 3 servings of broccoli every week.
2. Detoxifies the body
Broccoli contains the dynamic trio of glucobrassicin, gluconasturtiin, and glucoraphanin, which remove unwanted chemicals from the body.
Furthermore, broccoli also contains sulforaphane, which induces a network of detoxification enzymes and protects the cells as well as suppresses the inflammatory responses.
Did you know?
One of the biggest health benefits of broccoli is that it detoxifies the body. A study observed that people who drank broccoli sprout tea had higher detoxification levels post an 8-week long experiment. It essentially established that broccoli aided in the elimination of pollutants which we inadvertently inhale on a daily basis.
3. Improves organ health
Being an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and Vitamin K, broccoli;
- Maintains bone mineral density
- Fights osteoporosis
- Keeps the blood vessels strong
- Reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases
- Improves blood pressure levels
- Regulates cholesterol levels
- Helps prevent colon cancer
- Improves digestive health
- Betters the memory and cognitive abilities
- Protects the eyes from ultraviolet radiation
What’s more, the low-calorie broccoli helps with weight loss too, and is the perfect addition to one’s weight loss diet; because the fibre keeps you satiated for a longer period of time and keeps you away from binge eating.
4. Allergy cure
According to research, if one consumes broccoli for 3 days, the production of antioxidant-generating proteins in the body goes up by a whopping 200%, thus helping in curing allergies.
5. Pregnancy and sexual health
Being rich in folate, broccoli is not only said to ensure a healthy pregnancy, but it also helps prevent osteoporosis in pregnant women, eliminates neurological defects in the baby and helps prevent gestational diabetes.
According to a Spanish study, increased folate intake could better production of semen, leading to improved fertility and stronger orgasms.
6. Amazing skin and hair health
Broccoli’s impacts on the skin and hair are countless.
- Substances in broccoli not only aid skin repair but also better complexion
- Reduce skin wrinkles
- Improves skin elasticity and do away with ageing signs
- Broccoli is also great for the hair – the vitamins in it impart lustre to the hair, fight hair loss and improve general hair health.
Did you know?
Vitamin K is said to build bones better than calcium, and a a cup of broccoli contains 270% of one’s Vitamin K RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) for the day.
Ways to include broccoli in one’s diet
You can use broccoli in different ways in your diet to get the most nutrition from your food.
Here are six ways in which you can include broccoli in your diet.
1. Broccoli in pasta
This is one of the best ways to get people to eat broccoli, especially your kids.
Along with olives, baby corn, tomatoes, add broccoli and stir-fry them before adding the pasta or simply add steamed broccoli, olive oil and nuts to the creamy pasta. This will have people licking their fingers clean.
2. Broccoli in a salad
This ultra-healthy dish could do with some fresh, blanched broccoli. Toss in some red wine vinegar, crumbled feta, tomatoes, and chickpeas and you have a delicious healthy salad ready to be eaten.
3. Broccoli as a snack
Broccoli can be had in the form of a side dish in stir-fried form, or even tossed and roasted in the oven along with other veggies.
You can also puree sour cream, grated cheese, and steamed broccoli into a dip and serve it with other veggies.
For a more indulgent snack, once in a while, sauté steamed broccoli and chopped garlic and cover with beaten eggs before sprinkling grated cheese and baking it.
4. Broccoli soup
One of the best, tastiest, and heartiest ways in which you can absorb the nutrients of broccoli is in the form of soup.
It can be pureed along with other veggies and sprinkled with delicious seasonings to make various broccoli soups.
5. Broccoli in pizza
How about making a healthy, homemade broccoli pizza instead of ordering one? Add broccoli and other vegetable toppings on a wheat pizza base along with grated cheese or cottage cheese and watch it disappear from the table in no time!
6. Broccoli in omelet
Egg lovers can add chopped broccoli stalks and florets to their morning omelette to make them tastier and nutritious.
Given the numerous health benefits of broccoli, it is very wise to include in your diet once in a while.
Remember, it might taste bitter, but it doesn’t have to be, given all the wonderful ways in which it can be cooked. Make it part of your daily diet and you will surely see the difference in your health.
1. How many calories are present in Broccoli?
A. 100g of raw broccoli has only about 34 calories and it has no trans fat. It is made up of 89% water, 2.6 g of fibre, 6.6 g of carbohydrates and 2.8 g of protein.
2. What are the values of protein and carbs in broccoli?
A. 100g of broccoli has about 6.6-7 g of carbs, while the same amount of broccoli has about 2.8 g of protein, including all essential amino acids.
3. How does broccoli aid weight loss?
A. Broccoli is high in dietary fibre and has low fat and calories. Thus, one can feel full quicker with healthy food and be satiated for a long while without binging on calorie-rich foods. This in a way aids in weight loss.