The health benefits of broccoli are astounding for a vegetable that seems so unsuspecting — minerals, vitamins, fibre, this veggie really has it all. Plus, it is incredibly easy to make a healthy dinner with broccoli since, thanks to its subtle flavour, it is really versatile.
Broccoli is a green vegetable that sprouts both purple and green flower buds (of course, green is the most common kind). It is in the same family (namely, cruciferous) as cabbage, kale and cauliflower and what you may not know is that it can, in fact, be eaten completely raw.
What Broccoli Does for The Body
There have been studies conducted by Nutrition Research which show that eating broccoli — specifically steamed — can contribute to decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases since it lowers the overall cholesterol amount in your body. However, to reap this particular benefit, you must incorporate it into your diet regularly.
American researchers have also found that consuming more cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower and the like) can reduce your likelihood of heart disease.
Besides this, broccoli contains vitamins which enable our blood to be clot free and has a part in maintaining our bone strength and health. But there is a lot more research that needs to be done in order to totally validate this theory.
It is still important to mention that there has been consistent evidence that suggests vitamin K (abundant in broccoli) can reduce fractures in people who suffer from osteoporosis and other bone degenerative conditions.
This vegetable is also pretty good for your eye health too as it has lutein and zeaxanthin present in it which have been linked with decreasing eye disorders (cataracts and macular degeneration) that are related to age.
Additionally, thanks to the phytochemicals in broccoli called sulforaphane, it can reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer as it lessens your chance of tumour growth from airborne toxins.
Why You Should Eat More Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are a staple ingredient in a healthy diet, but why should you actually bother eating more of them? Well, consuming meals throughout your week that are rich with leafy greens can reduce your obesity risk and prevent heart disease, high blood pressure and the decline of cognitive function.
What Are The Benefits of Broccoli?
So, we are now going to reveal the 5 surprising health benefits of broccoli that you have been waiting for. You may have already realised from our discussion above that there are a ton of advantages that broccoli has for you.
Packed With Vitamins
Your parents were not lying when they told you to "eat your greens", they really are packed with vitamins — especially the gorgeous "mini trees" we know as broccoli.
It is packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre that contribute to keeping your body and your mind healthy and happy. Specifically, these are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B9
Vitamin C is vital for the formation of collagen which is the building blocks of tissue and bone. It also allows your body to heal wounds quicker and much more efficiently, as well as protecting you from harmful free radicals.
Vitamin A supports your bone health, improves your immune system and can even lower your risk of specific cancers if consumed regularly. In addition to this, it also protects your eyes from age-related illnesses and can clear your skin after an onslaught of acne!
Vitamin K, as we have mentioned already, is used to improve the function of proteins that are involved with your blood and preventing clots.
Vitamin B9, also known as folate, needs to be digested to allow new body cells to optimally function and exist.
The cooking method you use can alter the nutrition composition of broccoli but, overall, it is a really good vegetable to implement into your diet wherever possible.
Full of Fibre
Most people know that fibre is an essential part of a healthy diet but, maybe you did not know that it comes in abundance within broccoli.
Fibre is necessary for the health of your digestive system; in short, it allows all of our organs involved in the digestion process to function at its peak level.
Plus, consuming a lot of fibre can reduce the amount of cholesterol found in your body.
Controls Sugar Levels
Since this vegetable has extremely low levels of carbohydrates, it is great for people that participate in low-carb diets as it maintains the proper sugar level in your blood.
With that in mind, it probably comes as no shock that it is a great food for those who suffer from diabetes as its Glycaemic Index number is significantly low (15, to be exact).
Broccoli is very high in antioxidants which have been one of the reasons why people have debated whether or not it is a 'superfood'.
Antioxidants help to eradicate damage done to cells by free radicals which can allow your body to reduce any inflammation inside it.
Glucoraphanin is a compound that is changed into sulforaphane somewhere along the digestive process, the benefits of which include declining blood sugar, cholesterol, development of diseases and any oxidative stress. However, far more research is needed to validate these claims.
Supports Dental Health
Thanks to the vast range of nutrients and vitamins, this cruciferous veggie can support dental hygiene and health due to malnutrition and the like.
Vitamin C and calcium are present in it which have been linked to lowering your risk of periodontal disease. Plus, the sulforaphane, which we have already mentioned is packed into broccoli, can reduce your chance of developing oral cancers.
Again, more extensive research into the effects of broccoli on the human mouth is needed for these theories to be dubbed as a concrete fact.
Healthy Dinners to Try With Broccoli
Now you are armed with all the amazing benefits that broccoli can bring you, it is time to look into how you can incorporate it into your meals.
The easiest time to eat this vegetable is at dinner (or tea, as you might call it) because it tends to go well with foods like pasta and rice.
Creamy Broccoli Soup
While the word "creamy" may spark suspicious feelings of unhealthiness and fat, this recipe, which you can find over on Erren's Kitchen, is actually good for you.
Since this vegetable is so highly concentrated here, the health benefits of broccoli soup are amplified by the sheer amount of nutrients you can consume at one time.
Other Recipes Include
- Wholewheat pasta with broccoli and almonds
- Chicken with broccoli and rice
- Salmon, broccoli and sweet potato mash
Eventually, you will find a way to incorporate this beautiful vegetable into your meals in a way that suits you, but for now, go forth and reap the unbeatable benefits that this food has to offer!