Though you might have hated it as a kid, yours parents weren't trying to make you eat broccoli for nothing. In fact, broccoli is widely regarded as one of the healthiest vegetables out there. There are a wide range of health benefits which can be gained from eating this food, many of which can even help prevent disease. Fortunately, there are many great ways you can prepare this healthy vegetable that makes it more palatable for those who grew up loathing it. In this article, we'll explore the many ways in which eating broccoli can lead to a longer, healthier life.
Vitamins and Nutrients
Broccoli is virtually packed with a ton of great nutrients that your body needs to survive. Vitamins A, D, K and C are found in large amounts in this vegetable. Folic acid and fiber are also found in significant amounts in broccoli. This vegetable is also a great source of calcium, and can even be a calcium supplement for people who can't eat dairy to get enough calcium in their diet.
In addition to these vitamins and nutrients, broccoli also contains beta-carotenes, most of which are converted into vitamin A once they are consumed. Broccoli contains a wealth of minerals as well, including zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and iron. There are some other unique substances in broccoli, including isothiocyanates, which have great disease-fighting properties.
Preventing Disease and Sickness
Although you might not love this particular vegetable, broccoli is actually one of the best foods for fighting cancer. That's because of broccoli's isothiocyanates, which have been found in many studies to stimulate the body's production of natural substances known as "phase two enzymes." Those enzymes prevent substances which may cause cancer before they have a chance to affect healthy cells within the body. In addition to isothiocyanates, broccoli also contains a large amount of antioxidants in the form of vitamin C and beta-carotenes. These substances are also helpful in the prevention of cancer. In particular, broccoli has been linked to the prevention of certain types of cancer, including stomach, colon and lung cancer.
Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, so that obviously means that it is great for boosting the immune system. Since vitamin C is also a great antioxidant, it is very effective in fighting off free radicals that can make their way into the body. Additionally, vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron in the body, another substance found in this nutrient-rich vegetable.
Broccoli also contains a significant amount of potassium, which is known for its healthful effects on high blood pressure. Eating broccoli can effectively help to regulate blood pressure, which is linked to maintaining good cardiovascular health. Additionally, some of the carotenoids found in broccoli may also prevent the thickening of the arteries, which can help stave off heart disease and strokes.
Broccoli also contains a carotenoid called lutein, which is critical for maintaining healthy eyes. Lutein helps prevent both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Also boosting the eye health factor in broccoli is its vitamin A, which is known to form a light-absorbing molecule called retinol. This molecule maintains good vision, particularly in low-lighting conditions.
Other Health Benefits
Broccoli has many other uses that range beyond the prevention of serious health conditions like cancer and heart disease. For example, the fact that broccoli is high in fiber makes it a great diet choice if you are looking to lose weight. The large amounts of fiber help those who eat broccoli to stay fuller longer while also consuming very few calories. This prevents overeating and unnecessary snacking. Meanwhile, the fiber also helps to regulate blood sugar and prevent constipation.
The potassium in broccoli is also the cause of some of the vegetable's health benefits. Broccoli's potassium can help maintain a healthy nervous system and make for optimal brain functioning. Meanwhile, potassium in broccoli also contributes to regular muscle growth
Broccoli is also a great food to eat if you want to protect your skin. This vegetable contains a substance called glucoraphanin, which is converted into sulforaphane once inside the body. Sulforaphance is known for helping the body detoxify, which leaves skin looking healthier. Additionally, this process helps to counteract sun damage on the skin.
In conclusion, broccoli is undoubtedly one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet. Remember that, although there are many benefits that can be obtained from eating this vegetable, broccoli alone should not be utilized as a cure or treatment for any of the conditions mentioned in this article.