9 Top Health Benefits of Broccoli You Didn’t Know About
Broccoli is one of the most well-known vegetables, but many people still don’t know about all of its health benefits. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top 10 health benefits of broccoli that you may not have known about before.
Whether you’re looking to eat healthier or just trying to figure out how to get more servings of vegetables in your diet, the facts in this article should help you make the most out of this healthy food item.
Quick Nutrition Facts
Broccoli is a great source of vitamin C, and it’s also high in vitamin K, vitamin A, and folic acid. It also contains small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. One cup of raw broccoli gives you more than your daily recommended intake for all those vitamins.
Plus, broccoli contains antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids that are known to lower cancer risk and keep your immune system strong.
This green veggie has been shown to help reduce your risk of lung cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma.
This food can even fight off certain viral infections like herpes simplex 1 (cold sores) by boosting your body’s production of antibodies. It also helps avert osteoporosis because it increases your absorption of calcium and decreases your excretion of calcium.
The fiber in it helps lower cholesterol levels, which reduces your risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that men who eat diets rich in fiber have a lowered risk of developing enlarged prostates, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate cancer.
And if you suffer from constipation or irregular bowel movements, eating more fiber-rich foods like broccoli will definitely help relieve some symptoms! It is also an excellent source of sulforaphane, a compound that may protect against colorectal cancer.
Research shows that people who eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli have up to 60 percent less risk of developing colorectal cancer compared with people who don’t eat these veggies regularly.
Finally, adding broccoli to your diet may improve your bone health and decrease your risk of fractures later in life. As we age, our bones naturally become weaker and more brittle.
But studies show that older women who ate lots of green leafy vegetables like broccoli had denser bones and were 50 percent less likely to break a hip than women who consumed fewer greens.
In fact, one study found that postmenopausal women who ate about 5 servings of green leafy vegetables per week experienced twice as much bone mineral density loss as those who didn’t eat many greens. These same benefits could be true for both men and women.
So how do you get more broccoli into your diet? Toss it into soups, casseroles, stir-fries, salads whatever you’re making! If you want to add broccoli florets to pasta dishes or other recipes where they’ll cook for a long time, blanch them first so they don’t turn mushy.
To make sure your broccoli stays fresh longer after purchase, store it in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer it should last 3–5 days.
When you’re ready to use it, just remove any leaves that look wilted and cut away any brown spots. Then wash it thoroughly under cool running water.
Here are a few more tips for buying broccoli:
- Select broccoli that is bright green in color and firm. Avoid broccoli that is yellowing, limp, or soft.
- Look for bunches of broccoli with compact heads that feel heavy for their size.
- Broccoli is a great source of vitamin C, and it’s also high in vitamin K, vitamin A, and folic acid.
- Choose broccoli that doesn’t have any signs of moisture on its outer layer or any dark or black areas.
- Store it in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer for up to 3–5 days. After that, you may notice it starts to wilt or smell bad.
1) Improved Brain Function
The high levels of Vitamin K contained in it are great for improving brain function and lowering your risk for mental illness. High levels of omega-3 fatty acids can boost memory and avert cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
If you have a family history or genetic predisposition toward these disorders, adding it to your diet is an excellent preventative measure.
This vegetable also contains antioxidants that help protect your brain from damage caused by free radicals. Some research has even shown that it may be beneficial for preventing migraines. Eat up to stay sharp.
Nowadays, everyone knows that it is good for you but did you know just how good? In addition to its high fiber content and calcium levels, broccoli also contains a large amount of Vitamin K.
This nutrient helps prevent cognitive decline by Averting blood clots in your brain and regulating blood flow. It also lowers your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Eat it every day!
It has been shown to help avert cancer, especially breast cancer.
Women who eat lots of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli have up to 30% less chance of developing breast cancer than those who don’t eat these types of foods.
There are a few reasons this broccoli contains high levels of folate and Vitamin C, both important for keeping your body healthy and averting cancer.
It also contains sulforaphane, which has been proven to slow down tumor growth in lab tests on animals. Eat it every day.
Broccoli is also a great source of fiber and calcium two nutrients that are incredibly important for women as they age. Learn more on how to freeze kale.
This vegetable helps keep your bones strong so you can avoid osteoporosis as you get older. The high levels of Vitamin C in broccoli also help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other conditions related to blood vessel damage. Eat it every day.
Broccoli is one of those vegetables that people either love or hate but no matter what side you’re on, it’s hard to deny its health benefits. If you haven’t eaten broccoli before, give it a try.
There are lots of ways to prepare it and there are plenty of recipes online for inspiration. No matter how you eat it, though, make sure you’re getting enough each day your body will thank you for it.
Broccoli contains high levels of sulforaphane and other nutrients that have been shown in lab tests to slow down tumor growth in animals.
It also contains Vitamin C and folate which are important for keeping your body healthy and averting cancer. Eat broccoli every day!
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning it’s part of a family of vegetables that includes cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and bok choy. These vegetables contain many health benefits in addition to helping prevent cancer, they can help lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar.
They’re also full of fiber and calcium two nutrients women need as they age. Eating it regularly is an excellent way to get these essential vitamins and minerals. Eating it regularly is an excellent way to get these essential vitamins and minerals.
The best way to prepare it is by steaming it with a little bit of water until it turns bright green (about 3 minutes). This method helps retain most of its nutrients, so you don’t lose any during cooking. If you want some extra flavor, try adding garlic or Parmesan cheese when you steam it.
Once you learn how to cook broccoli properly, there are lots of ways to enjoy it it tastes great raw in salads and works well as a side dish for just about anything. Make sure you eat plenty every day!
The best time to eat it is at breakfast not only does it help regulate your blood sugar levels throughout the day, but eating vegetables at breakfast can also help reduce your overall calorie intake for breakfast and make sure that your body gets all of its vitamins and minerals in one shot.
2) Supports Bone Health
In addition to beta-carotene, it is rich in a group of phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which are converted by our body into detoxifying agents that fight carcinogens.
In particular, two glucosinolates glucoraphanin and gluconasturtiin have been shown to stimulate enzymes in our gut that help us better utilize calcium and may also inhibit harmful cancer-promoting activity. Research suggests that these compounds can be absorbed intact from our intestines and then travel to bone tissue where they promote healthy bone growth.
This effect has been linked with an increased risk for osteoporosis among women who have low intakes of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, suggesting that eating it more could actually reduce your risk for bone fractures later in life.
It’s worth noting that not all research supports these findings; some studies have found no association between dietary intake of glucosinolates and bone health.
However, even if you don’t believe that broccoli averts osteoporosis (and you should eat it anyway), there’s still plenty to love about this veggie.
And it’s true: Most people do not get enough vitamin K2 or menaquinone in their diet. Vitamin K2 helps to prevent calcification of soft tissues such as arteries and joints, thus reducing your risk for heart disease and osteoarthritis.
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Menaquinones are only produced by certain bacteria in our guts, so getting them from food sources like cheese or natto is essential. Luckily, one cup of cooked broccoli contains over 100% of your daily value!
If you’re looking for another reason to include broccoli in your diet, here it is: Glucoraphanin and other sulfur-containing chemicals give broccoli its distinctive smell.
These sulfur compounds also happen to provide potent antioxidant protection against cellular damage. Broccoli sprouts contain very high levels of glucoraphanin, so we suggest adding a handful to any meal containing cooked veggies!
It’s important to note that cooking does appear to significantly decrease levels of most nutrients in broccoli, including vitamin C and carotenoids.
The good news is that steaming appears to preserve nutrients better than boiling or microwaving. So try steaming your broccoli instead of boiling it next time.
While raw broccoli might seem intimidating at first, once you learn how easy it is to prepare and enjoy, you might find yourself consuming it more often than ever before.
To start, try chopping up a bunch of broccoli and tossing it in a salad. Or steam it for 3-5 minutes and enjoy it as a side dish. Add broccoli to soups or stews, or stir-fry it with your favorite meat or fish. No matter how you choose to eat it, broccoli is sure to become a new favorite! Now that you know why broccoli is so good for you, it’s time to put your knowledge to use.
Enjoy a serving of broccoli with every meal and watch as your energy levels soar and your mood brightens. Soon, you’ll have more reasons to add broccoli to your diet: It tastes great!
3) Protects against Cancer
The sulforaphane found in broccoli is known to prevent and even treat cancer, particularly prostate cancer. The glucosinolates in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are also believed to protect against other forms of cancers.
Research shows that combining indole-3-carbinol (found in cruciferous vegetables) with a bioflavonoid called quercetin (found in apples, onions, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and tea) can inhibit or reverse tumor formation. Sulforaphane has been shown to reduce inflammation, which may help prevent heart disease.
It’s also linked to lower rates of breast and lung cancer. Studies have shown that women who eat lots of cruciferous veggies have a reduced risk for ovarian cancer by about 25 percent compared with those who don’t eat these foods regularly.
For men, it’s a different story: Men who ate two servings of cruciferous vegetables per week had an 18 percent higher risk for prostate cancer than men who didn’t eat them at all.
This doesn’t mean you should stop eating broccoli; just make sure you’re balancing your intake with plenty of healthy fats and protein to minimize any potential damage.
In fact, adding some olive oil to your salad or sautéing up some grass-fed beef and throwing it on top will not only increase its nutrient value but also further boost its antioxidant activity.
Be careful when cooking broccoli, though it loses much of its antioxidant activity during cooking due to heat degradation.
That means raw is best! Eating broccoli raw helps preserve its nutritional content as well as enhances its flavor profile, making it taste sweeter. Try adding raw broccoli florets to green smoothies or salads.
Another option is lightly steaming it until tender-crisp, then topping with a little coconut oil and salt before serving. A third option is to steam it, then throw it into a food processor along with other ingredients like avocado, garlic, and lemon juice for a quick dip.
You could also try roasting broccoli by tossing florets in extra virgin olive oil and seasoning them with sea salt. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and roast at 400 degrees F until tender-crisp. Or, if you want to get really fancy, use your oven’s broiler function instead.
Simply place florets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and broil for 5 minutes on each side. Once cooked, drizzle broccoli with extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt to taste. Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Broccoli is also delicious when eaten raw in a crunchy slaw. Shred broccoli, carrots, and cabbage and toss with a homemade dressing made from sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari sauce, fresh ginger, and a touch of honey. Add toasted sesame seeds for added texture and flavor.
Broccoli is also wonderful when served with a light coating of melted ghee or coconut oil. To do so, simply bring a pot of water to a boil and cook broccoli florets for 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain and immediately transfer to a bowl filled with ice water. Let cool for 10 minutes, drain again, and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer florets to a large bowl and drizzle with melted ghee or coconut oil, plus salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently until evenly coated.
Broccoli is also a great addition to stir-fries. Chop broccoli florets and add them at the end of cooking. You can also add it to soups or stews, where it will quickly cook through.
If you have a juicer, you can make your own broccoli juice by adding 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli florets to your juicer with other vegetables such as celery, cucumber, and spinach.
4) Boosts Eye Health
Naturally high in Vitamin K, broccoli is an excellent source of carotenoids, which are known to aid eye health. In addition to preventing macular degeneration and cataracts, antioxidants from broccoli can protect your vision from damage caused by blue light emitted by devices like laptops and smartphones.
It’s also important to note that research has shown a connection between low levels of vitamin K and glaucoma, so including foods rich in vitamin K (like broccoli) in your diet may help prevent or slow down the progression of glaucoma.
The same research found eating cruciferous vegetables was linked to a decreased risk of primary open-angle glaucoma.
In addition to being rich in carotenoids, broccoli contains glucosinolates. These compounds activate enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing substances before they cause any harm.
Research suggests regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli helps prevent certain types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer and boosts detoxification processes within our bodies.
Like many other green leafy veggies, broccoli is loaded with fiber. While more research is needed to confirm these findings, it’s clear that broccoli and other members of the cabbage family provide essential nutrients for healthy eyes.
If you want to protect your vision as you age, including broccoli in your diet on a regular basis may be one simple way to do so.
Just one cup of cooked broccoli contains over 100% of your daily recommended intake (RDI) of vitamin C an antioxidant known for its immune-boosting properties.
Vitamin C can also help protect against damage caused by free radicals and may reduce symptoms associated with certain types of arthritis. In addition to boosting immunity, vitamin C helps keep our skin healthy and aids in collagen production, which is essential for maintaining strong bones, teeth, cartilage, tendons, gums, and blood vessels.
For example, research suggests that consuming high levels of vitamin C may decrease the risk of osteoporosis and contribute to overall bone health.
This same study found that men who consumed more vitamin C had a lower risk of hip fracture. While more research is needed to confirm these findings, it’s clear that including foods rich in vitamin C like broccoli in your diet on a regular basis may be beneficial for bone health.
The same research showed that older women who ate plenty of vitamin C were less likely to experience cognitive decline than those who didn’t consume as much.
It’s important to note that these results don’t prove cause and effect; however, they do suggest there could be a connection between eating lots of vitamin C-rich foods like broccoli and maintaining brain function as we age.    Like many other green leafy veggies, broccoli is loaded with fiber.
Fiber helps us feel full longer and can even improve cholesterol levels by reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. These benefits are especially important if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Research shows that people with type 2 diabetes who eat diets high in fiber have lower blood sugar levels, A1C levels, and triglyceride levels compared to people who eat low-fiber diets.
One cup of cooked broccoli contains over 4 grams of dietary fiber that’s 16% of your daily value. As if all these nutrients weren’t enough reason to add broccoli to your diet, cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates.
These compounds activate enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing substances before they cause any harm. In fact, researchers believe some members of the cabbage family including broccoli may avert certain types of cancer. And when it comes to prostate cancer specifically, several studies show an association between high consumption of cruciferous vegetables and reduced risk.
However, these studies don’t prove cause and effect; rather, they show an association between eating large amounts of cruciferous veggies and having a reduced risk for prostate cancer.
5) Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Compounds in broccoli called isothiocyanates have been found to prevent heart disease by reducing inflammation, which can lead to clogged arteries. Eating your greens has never tasted so good.
In addition, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits lowers blood pressure, according to a study published in Hypertension Research. This makes it easier for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. Keep an eye on cholesterol levels: If you already have high cholesterol levels or are at risk for developing them due to genetics or lifestyle factors (such as smoking), adding more veggies and fruits including broccoli to your diet may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides.
Studies suggest that just one extra serving per day could make a difference. Boosts Brain Power: The brain needs plenty of oxygen to function properly, and broccoli is loaded with antioxidants that boost circulation. Studies show that people who eat plenty of leafy green vegetables like broccoli tend to perform better on cognitive tests than those who don’t consume many greens.
And if memory loss runs in your family, you might want to double down on your veggie intake; studies show that older adults who ate lots of cruciferous vegetables had slower mental decline over time.
Reduces Risk of Cancer: Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a powerful antioxidant compound shown to reduce cancer cell growth in both animal and lab studies. It also reduces oxidative stress in cells, which helps protect against DNA damage that can lead to cancer.
6) Prevents Respiratory Diseases
Studies show that people who consume broccoli on a regular basis may be reducing their risk of respiratory diseases. A study published in Food Chemistry suggested that those who consumed broccoli were at a reduced risk for developing lung and respiratory diseases.
This may be because of its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent, preventing inflammation that can lead to asthma and bronchitis. The vitamin C in broccoli also contributes to overall immunity by strengthening your body’s defenses against free radicals.
As an added bonus, broccoli is high in fiber, which promotes digestive health and prevents constipation or diarrhea. In addition, it contains glucoraphanin and sulforaphane compounds that have been shown to prevent cell damage from oxidative stress.
These compounds also help fight cancer, but more research needs to be done before any conclusive claims can be made about broccoli’s effects on cancer prevention. It’s best to eat broccoli raw; cooking causes sulforaphane levels to drop significantly.
Don’t go overboard though too much broccoli can actually cause gas and bloating. One cup per day should do you just fine!
7) Lowers Cholesterol Levels
It’s no secret that broccoli is high in fiber. An enormous amount of research has shown that eating a diet high in fiber, especially soluble fiber will help reduce your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and raise your good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
Soluble fiber helps lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which means more good cholesterol for you! In fact, one study found that men who ate 25 grams of dietary fiber per day lowered their LDL cholesterol by an average of 15%. That’s impressive stuff.
A single serving of cooked broccoli contains 2.5 grams of fiber, so it won’t take much to get started on lowering those numbers. Just try adding broccoli to your next meal the florets are small enough that they can be added almost anywhere.
If you don’t like broccoli or just want another option, add other foods with soluble fiber like beans, lentils, apples, or pears.
The same study found that men who consumed at least two servings of fruit each day had an 11% reduction in total cholesterol and a 12% reduction in LDL cholesterol compared to those who didn’t eat any fruit.
And remember: fiber isn’t only beneficial for people trying to lose weight; these effects also apply if you’re looking to maintain your current weight or if you’re just looking to feel better overall. So eat up!
8) Aids Digestion
Studies have shown that broccoli contains glucosinolates, a natural compound that can reduce inflammation in our bodies. This is good news for your digestive system because inflammation often leads to indigestion and heartburn.
If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, eating more broccoli may help manage your symptoms. The fiber in broccoli helps support digestion, prevent constipation and reduce bloating. It also plays a role in nutrient absorption.
Fiber-rich foods slow down digestion, helping keep blood sugar levels steady and preventing cravings later on. Plus, fiber is filling so it keeps you feeling full longer.
Top Cancer-Fighting Food: A study conducted at Rutgers University found that women who ate two or more servings of cruciferous vegetables per week had a 40 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared with those who ate one serving per month.
Researchers suspect it’s due to indole-3-carbinol, a compound in broccoli and other cruciferous veggies that helps prevent DNA damage and inhibits tumor growth.
The sulfur compounds in broccoli may also protect against colon cancer, according to research published in Nutrition and Cancer. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, which helps strengthen your immune system and fight infection. It also aids in collagen production, making skin look younger and reducing wrinkles.
Broccoli contains kaempferol, an antioxidant that slows down skin aging by protecting cells from free radical damage. Kaempferol can be up to 10 times more potent than vitamin E when it comes to fighting free radicals.
Eating broccoli can help you lose weight because of its high fiber content one cup has 2 grams of fiber—which keeps you feeling full longer and prevents overeating later on. Studies have shown that people who eat foods high in fiber tend to weigh less than those who don’t.
Fiber also promotes healthy digestion and elimination, so if you have trouble losing weight, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables like broccoli might help.
It’s loaded with vitamins K1 and K2 (as well as folate), which are linked to reduced risks for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers such as colorectal cancer.
9) Helps with Weight Loss
If you’re looking to lose weight, broccoli is definitely a food you should include in your diet. This veggie has lots of fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer while also helping you keep regular.
Besides fiber, broccoli also contains sulforaphane, a compound that helps boost metabolism and may prevent some types of cancer. With an increased metabolism and reduced inflammation levels (from all that sulforaphane), it’s no wonder broccoli is linked to weight loss!
One study found that people who ate one cup of broccoli four times per week lost more than three pounds over 12 weeks compared to those who didn’t eat any. Other studies have shown similar results. So go ahead and eat up! Your body will thank you for it.
The reason broccoli is a superfood is that it’s one of our best sources of folic acid. As we get older, our body tends to produce less and less folic acid, so it’s important to make sure we’re getting enough folic acid in our diet through foods like broccoli.
It’s also a fantastic source of vitamin C, which can help stave off colds and other sicknesses. Not only that, but vitamin C also aids in wound healing and reduces inflammation as well! If you’re looking for an easy way to add more nutrients to your diet, try adding more broccoli into your meals.
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Whether you eat it raw or steam it with some olive oil, there are plenty of ways to incorporate broccoli into your daily routine. And don’t forget about its great taste; eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!