Broccoli is full of health benefits making it a very good superfood. The problem is that it has a reputation of being America’s most hated vegetable. One either loves it or hates it.
The fact is that broccoli is America’s favourite vegetable; according to a survey, 47 percent of the United States stated that. The vote of the people in 38 of the 50 states was for broccoli being their favourite vegetable.
“My mother told me, you don’t have to put anything in your mouth you don’t want to. Then she made me eat broccoli, which felt like double standards.” ~ Sarah Millican
It is time to learn about all the benefits of broccoli and much more.
Broccoli Health Benefits
Helpful for Heart Health
Eating steamed broccoli regularly has been found to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease as it reduces cholesterol in the body a study found.
It was found in another study that when one increases vegetables in the diet, especially the cruciferous vegetables there was a lesser risk of heart disease.
Also, being high in fiber helps lower cholesterol and stops the cholesterol from entering the bloodstream as it binds it and removes it from the body.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
There are no superfoods to prevent cancer, but Cancer Research UK says that a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cancer.
Broccoli has sulforaphane in it and studies have shown that it may reduce the risk of some cancers.
It was found in research that it can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Good for Blood Sugar Control for Diabetics
Broccoli has been found to help people with diabetes. A study showed that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed broccoli sprouts daily for one month decreased their insulin resistance.
Helpful for Weight Loss
It is high in fiber, protein and detoxifying phytochemicals and one cup of cooked broccoli only has 31 calories and no fat. Also, it has high water content, filling up your stomach which helps stop overeating.
This vegetable is for sure a smart carb and being high in fiber it helps digestion, prevents constipation, keeps blood sugar balanced, and controls overeating. The other good news is that a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice with only half the calories.
So all the broccoli health benefits truly help to keep you nourished and not eat too much.
Prevents Cellular Damage to Eyes
It contains a good amount of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that have been found to prevent oxidative stress and damage to your eyes according to research.
It is important to keep your body balanced in the acid-alkaline department. When we get too acidic there are many health problems so eating alkaline-forming foods is very important. Broccoli is one of the many alkaline-forming foods. Learn more about how to Balance Your Body.
May Slow the Aging Process
Broccoli has a high amount of sulforaphane, which studies have shown to help slow the aging process.
Good for Bone Health
“The entire skeleton is replaced every 7 to 10 years. During the skeleton’s remodeling, the body releases calcium from the bone into the bloodstream to meet an individual’s metabolic needs” ~ Katarzyna Maresz, phd., International Science and Health Foundation, Poland.
This vegetable has lots of calcium and vitamin K which are very important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.
The trend is that we only need calcium but in fact, too much can cause health problems. The remedy is Vitamin K as it is necessary for binding with the calcium for building bones. One cup of broccoli provides a very high amount of Vitamin K with over 270 percent of your daily needs.
It has been found that phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A and C are also very important for healthy bones.
Is a Powerful Antioxidant
Broccoli has a good amount of vitamin C, plus the flavonoids necessary for vitamin C to work well. It also has other important antioxidants such as carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Learn more about Antioxidants.
Good for Digestion and Reduces Constipation
Broccoli, being a vegetable high in fiber helps keep the digestive system healthy with regular bowel movements.
Broccoli does contain goitrogens which are natural substances that can interfere with the role of the thyroid gland.
For most healthy people there is no risk, it is mostly for those with thyroid problems that may be advised by their healthcare practitioner to limit the number of cruciferous vegetables that contain these compounds. What can help is cooking the cruciferous vegetables as it seems to inactivate the goitrogenic compounds, so steaming of the vegetables makes good sense.
Broccoli does have lots of raffinose, a complex sugar. Some people don’t have the enzyme alpha-galactosidase in the small intestines to break it down, so lots of gas can be created leading to cramping.
One cup of chopped raw broccoli has 2.6 grams of protein, more than 100 percent of your daily need for vitamin C and vitamin K. It is also a good source of folate, vitamin A, and potassium. And it only has 31 calories and 0 grams of fat. Learn all the nutrients details of broccoli.
“Hold it, Newman, you wouldn’t eat broccoli if it was deep fried in chocolate sauce.” ~ Jerry Seinfeld to Newman.
- Broccoli is known as the “Crown of Jewel Nutrition” because of being highly nutritious.
- Its name means “cabbage sprout” which is from the Italian word “broccolo”.
- “A broccoli grown by John and Mary Evans of Palmer, Alaska, USA in 1993 weighed 15.87 kg (35 lb).” ~ Guinness World Records
- In the last 25 years, broccoli consumption has increased by over 940 percent.
- It is part of the cabbage family.
- Broccoli is actually a large flower which we pick before it blooms.
- You can find it in a number of colours from deep sage all the way to dark green and purplish-green.
- China and India are the largest producers of broccoli and the United States is the 3rd and grows over 1 million tons.
- Romanesco broccoli has beautiful flowers and is really in the cauliflower family. See the photo below.
History of Broccoli
- It has been around for at least 2000 years.
- It was cultivated in Italy, in ancient Roman times, from the wild cabbage.
- Arrived in England in the mid-18th century and was called “Italian asparagus.”
- Broccoli came to the United States with Italian immigrants but did not become widely known until the 1920s.
Broccoli Is In the Cruciferous Family (Cabbage Family)
Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, cabbage, and kale are part of the same family. Also, the less known vegetables: arugula, kohlrabi, broccolini, daikon, and watercress.
Learn more about the main cruciferous vegetables.
Cauliflower is Full of Amazing Health Benefits – Nutritious cauliflower is full of amazing health benefits that help prevent cancer, protects the eyes, and even helps with weight loss. It is one of the top 30 superfood vegetables because it is full of so many health benefits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Aggregate Nutrient Density Index have verified this.
5 Reasons To Love Brussels Sprouts and 7 Tips To Make Them Taste Better -If you’ve already decided you don’t like Brussels sprouts, it’s probably because at some point in your life someone served you some that had their tasty, nutty, sweet flavor was boiled away. When you learn how to cook them properly, you may find them totally yummy! Brussels sprouts look like mini cabbages and are in fact in the same family.
Cabbage – the Big Powerfood – If you want beautiful glowing skin, and an immune system powerful enough to fight off just about anything, don’t forget this highly nutritious but common vegetable. Cabbage is powerful. Ancient healers thought it contained moon power because it grew in the moonlight. Modern nutritional science understands its power comes from its high sulfur and vitamin C content. Either way – it’s worth adding to your weekly diet.
Kale – 8 Health Benefits and Cautions – Discover the newest superfood of the stars; kale is full of health benefits. Read more about kale, get some recipes and learn about cautions. Kale was once called the ‘poor people food’ but now it’s the new trend. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Woody Harrelson, and Gwyneth Paltrow are all eating kale to feel better and keep the ‘sleek physique’ needed for stardom.
“Hurray-Hurrah for Broccoli” by Sesame Street
To Get the Health Benefits of Broccoli Is It Best Eaten Raw or Cooked?
A 2008 report by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that boiling and steaming was best for preserving broccoli’s antioxidant status, but that cooking it can destroy vitamin C.
Another piece of research, however, demonstrated that raw broccoli was best when it comes to preserving the levels of sulforaphane.
In short, whether you eat broccoli raw or cooked, it is a valuable addition to a balanced diet.
“Listen to your broccoli and it will tell you how to eat it.” ~ Anne Lamott
Tips for Getting the Broccoli Health Benefits into Your Meals
Steamed broccoli is the way to go if you are wanting to lower cholesterol as the fiber-related components in broccoli are able to bind together with the bile acids in your digestive tract after being cooked. Once the binding process begins the bile acids can be excreted which results in lowering your cholesterol levels. While Raw broccoli has some great benefits, it has less effect on cholesterol.
Make sure you avoid overcooking your broccoli as the cooking process will destroy about half of the beneficial substances. You also want to stay away from microwaving your broccoli as it is thought to remove valuable nutrients.
The best way to prepare your broccoli is to lightly steam it for a few minutes. It will turn bright green but still be slightly firm.
- Add some broccoli florets and chopped stalks to stir-fries.
- Add broccoli to your homemade soups and stews.
- Have your pasta with olive oil, pine nuts, and steamed broccoli florets.
- You can eat broccoli raw or lightly steamed with dip or pour an Olive Oil Lemon Dressing over it.
- Add chopped lightly steamed broccoli to a pasta salad.
- Purée cooked broccoli and add seasonings of your choice to creating a simple, delicious, soup.
- Or simply steam some along with other vegetables to have with brown rice or quinoa or millet or buckwheat. Make a sauce to go on it like one of my favourite sauces: Peanut Butter Sauce with Ginger or Tasty Tahini Cream Sauce or Miso Sauce.
Now let’s get some of the broccoli health benefits in with some recipes.
Delicious Broccoli Recipes For You
Broccoli Rice Salad– A filling and healthy salad that is easy to make.
Alkaline Steamed Vegetables for Your Meal – Adding some alkaline steamed vegetables to your meal is a very healthy way to go. For a start, you will be eating many superfoods. Also, creating a balanced meal with these alkaline-forming vegetables.
Chinese Vegetables – Here is my version of delicious Chinese vegetables which are vegan and gluten-free. This is a great dish to serve on the Chinese New Year or any day! I especially like the Chinese broccoli which is called gai lan which I get from a Chinese supermarket.
Other Cruciferous Vegetable Recipes
Yummy Grain-Free Stuffing with Cauliflower and Mushrooms – This grain-free stuffing is so delicious that even those who think they have to have a bread stuffing enjoy it. This recipe is good for gluten-free eaters and for the paleo diet too.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries – This is an exceptionally tasty dish fit for a celebration meal. Roasting the Brussel Sprouts till crisp takes away the sulfur odor and taste.
Braised Kale is Delicious for Dinner – Kale braised for an addition to a meal is so good. Apart from making a dish on its own as in my recipe below, I put kale in soups and stir-fries.
Cabbage Walnut Salad – This cabbage salad is so filling. Also, it is high in nutrients with a variety of vegetables in it which make it very good for you too.
Learn more about some of the healthiest vegetarian foods you will always want to have in your pantry or growing on your deck.
READ: Superfoods – Over 100 of the Healthiest Foods You Should Have in Your Diet and learn more about the variety of Superfoods we think you should have in your diet.