Is Broccoli the Healthiest Vegetable? Thanks to all the nutrients that broccoli offers, it definitely tops the list. Ask any nutritionist, doctor, naturopath, or nutrition researcher for their personal list of the most nutrient dense foods, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are sure to be on it. No wonder, because broccoli is a royal vegetable: rich in antioxidants, fiber and many vitamins and minerals.
What Are the Proven Benefits of Broccoli? It’s hard to know where to start.
What is broccoli?
Broccoli is technically an edible green plant in the cabbage family, which is part of the large family of plants called Brassica oleracea. Because it’s closely related to cabbage and shares many of the same nutritional benefits, the word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccoli, meaning “the flowery crest of a cabbage.”
What Are the Benefits of Broccoli?
A member of the cruciferous (Brassica) family, the same family that includes other green vegetables like bok choy, collards, kale, and Swiss chard, broccoli is an excellent source of phytochemicals called isothiocyanates, which fight free radical damage. Besides isothiocyanates, this vegetable also contains sulforaphane and indole, two types of powerful antioxidants and detoxifying enzyme stimulators that protect cells and DNA structure. It also contains glucosinolates, carotenoids, chlorophyll, vitamins E and K, essential minerals, phenolic compounds, etc.
The Little History of Broccoli
Broccoli was first cultivated around the 6th century BC. Cultivated as an edible plant in the northern Mediterranean region from the time of the Roman Empire, it was considered a valuable foodstuff, exceptional for health and longevity. Despite being a young vegetable, broccoli is now enjoyed all over the world and eaten in almost every cuisine, be it Indian, Japanese, American or French. Today, the top broccoli producers are China, India, Italy, Mexico, France, Poland and the United States.
The top 7 health benefits of broccoli
Why is broccoli healthy for your body? Research links the broccoli diet and cruciferous vegetable consumption to numerous health benefits.
1. Helps fight cancer
Why is broccoli a superfood for cancer prevention? As you just learned, it is one of the best sources of isothiocyanate compounds, which fight cancer by reducing oxidative stress, protecting cell mitochondrial function, neutralizing carcinogens, and fighting toxins. They do this by reducing the toxic effects of toxins from poor diet, environmental exposure, heavy metals and the aging process.
Isothiocyanates work by stimulating the release of special “cancer-causing chemicals” that speed up the elimination of toxins from the body. Numerous studies show that foods high in antioxidants, such as cruciferous vegetables, inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors and prevent DNA damage. They are therefore known to significantly reduce the risk of colon, bladder, prostate, breast and other cancers.
Not only does broccoli offer high levels of isothiocyanates, but it is also valuable for cancer prevention due to its high content of a phytochemical called sulforaphane. This disease-preventing compound increases the activation of enzymes known as phase 2 enzymes, which are effective at fighting carcinogens in the body. In fact, sulforaphane is the most potent phase 2 enzyme inducer of any known phytochemical and helps reduce the risk of some of the deadliest cancers, including prostate cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables are linked to a reduced risk of breast and cervical cancer, making them particularly important for women. This is due to their effect on estrogen in the body.
Try eating cruciferous vegetables several times a week for better protection. Eating broccoli improves the body’s ability to fight cancer in a number of ways, including providing antioxidants, regulating enzymes, and controlling apoptosis and cell cycles.
2. Maintaining a strong framework
Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are essential for healthy bones, nails, and teeth. High levels of vitamin K and iron are essential for maintaining bone mineral density (along with many other benefits such as promoting blood health and boosting your energy levels).
Some even say vitamin K builds bone better than calcium, and just one cup of broccoli provides more than 270% of your daily vitamin K needs. Human studies have shown that vitamin K and vitamin D work together to support bone metabolism and this vitamin affect K or vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of bone-related diseases. Vitamin K also has a positive effect on the balance of calcium, a key mineral in bone metabolism.
3. Maintain heart health
Why eat broccoli when you want to protect your heart? Eating broccoli benefits heart health in a variety of ways, including preventing heart attacks and strokes and keeping arteries clear, as well as correcting high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Epidemiological studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition easily show that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, is correlated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The high fiber content of broccoli is great for lowering cholesterol naturally and quickly. It prevents cholesterol from entering your bloodstream by binding to it and removing it from the body.
Sulforaphane can also significantly improve high blood pressure and kidney function, while the compound in this vegetable called lutein can prevent thickening of the arteries and plaque build-up that can lead to cardiac arrest.
Is Broccoli Anti-Inflammatory? Yes, it is high in minerals, which are important for reducing inflammation, fighting free radical damage and protecting cardiovascular health. These include calcium, potassium and magnesium. For example, it is known that calcium plays an essential role in maintaining healthy and strong bones, but it also helps in blood clotting and the proper functioning of muscles and nerves.
4. Improves gut and digestive health
In addition to supporting heart health, high-fiber foods also keep the digestive system healthy.
Does broccoli cause bowel movements? He can definitely help you. Eating whole foods as part of a high-fiber diet promotes regular bowel movements, better gut and colon health, a more alkaline digestive tract (which boosts immunity), and the prevention of constipation, IBS, and other digestive disorders.
The sulforaphane isothiocyanate compounds, abundant in broccoli, are also effective in fighting harmful bacteria in the gut and preventing oxidation that can lead to cancer in the digestive organs. Studies have shown that mice fed broccoli-rich diets have reduced gastric bacterial colonization, lower expression of tumor growth and inflammation, and higher antioxidant activity that boosts immunity. The broccoli diet also supports the body’s natural detoxification processes through its phytonutrients glucoraphanin, gluconasturtian, and glucobrassicin, which contribute to liver function.
5. Maintain healthy eyes and vision
A lesser-known benefit of eating broccoli is that it keeps your eyes free from age-related disorders. It has a positive impact on eye health thanks to its high content of carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are essential for eye health and maintaining good vision into old age. They protect night vision and prevent UV damage to the retina and cornea of the eye. Eating a diet rich in foods that contain antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin A is a natural way to prevent macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
6. Promote healthy skin
Would you like to maintain healthy, youthful-looking skin as you age? Consuming broccoli has positive effects on the look, feel, and health of skin thanks to its sulforaphane, which helps repair skin damage. Its high content of vitamin A and vitamin C prevents collagen breakdown, skin cancer, UV damage, wrinkles and skin inflammation. Additionally, a vitamin A derivative found in broccoli, beta-carotene, is essential for immune system function and has been shown to help fight cancer, including skin cancer.
7. Helps to lose weight
Why is broccoli good for dieters? Because it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods on earth. A cup of this cooked vegetable has just over 50 calories, but a healthy dose of fiber, protein, and detoxifying phytochemicals.
Is broccoli a carbohydrate? A high-fiber complex carbohydrate, broccoli is an excellent choice to support balanced blood sugar levels, sustained energy and a feeling of satiety. Do you want to know the secret of losing weight fast? Include more high-volume, low-calorie, and nutrient-dense foods in your meals.
Broccoli is a very bulky food due to its high water content. It therefore takes up space in your stomach and eliminates cravings or excess food without adding calories to meals.
Can you eat broccoli every day?
Some people are concerned about eating large amounts of cruciferous vegetables and their effects on thyroid health. Luckily there is nothing to worry about.
According to research, it would take a large amount of cruciferous vegetables to cause any type of hypothyroidism. It also seems to be a risk, especially for people with an existing iodine deficiency. If you have a thyroid problem, eat cooked cruciferous vegetables and limit it to one or two servings per day. Otherwise, most people benefit from eating lots of cruciferous vegetables.
* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.
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