10 Health Benefits of Broccoli, According to a Nutritionist Discovered by Grill Heat Aid
Broccoli is a great source of vitamins K and C, a good source of folate (folic acid) and also provides potassium, fiber. Vitamin C – builds collagen, which forms body tissue and bone, and helps cuts and wounds heal. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals. Broccoli offers disease-fighting nutrients that can decrease signs of aging, among other benefits.
Broccoli has a bounty of nutrients: One cup of raw broccoli contains just 25 calories, less than 5 grams of carbohydrate, no fat, and a few grams of plant protein. Even so, broccoli is chock full of nutrients. One cup cooked provides nearly 250% of the daily target for vitamin K, which helps blood clot and is needed for bone health.
Broccoli is high in fiber: The 2-3 grams of fiber per cup of raw broccoli support good digestive health and feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut tied to anti-inflammation, immunity, and mood. That same size portion also contains over two ounces of water. The fiber and water combo boost feelings of fullness to support healthy weight management. And the fiber helps support blood sugar and insulin regulation for steady, even energy.
It may help prevent cancer: Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous veggie family, which also includes cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and collard greens. This group of plants contains natural compounds linked to cancer prevention—thanks to their ability to neutralize carcinogens and prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading, Cruciferous veggies also support apoptosis, or the self-destruct sequence the body uses to kill off dysfunctional cells.
Broccoli offers heart protection: Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, protect the heart by reducing the damage to arteries that leads to hardening, which is often a precursor to a heart attack or stroke.
It's linked to brain health: Some of the nutrients and natural bioactive substances in broccoli have been linked to healthy brain and nervous tissue function, plus protection against age-related cognitive decline.
Broccoli can keep bones strong: Broccoli is unique in that it contains several nutrients essential for bone formation and the prevention of bone density loss. These include vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, in addition to copper, iron, zinc, vitamins A and C, and B vitamins. These nutrients work in synergy to promote bone mass and bone strength.
It fights inflammation: In addition to helping to fend off premature aging, the anti-inflammatory power of broccoli is tied to a reduced risk of chronic diseases. The inflammation fighting compounds, which protect cells from DNA damage, may also help manage existing inflammatory conditions—including type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory skin conditions, bowel disease, and obesity. One recent study found that in women, a higher intake of cruciferous veggies helped lower levels of pro-inflammatory markers circulating in the blood.
It's a natural detox: Research shows that naturally occurring compounds in broccoli also act like detoxifiers, meaning they help to deactivate potentially damaging chemicals or shuttle them out of the body more quickly.
Reducing the risk of cancer: Cruciferous vegetables contain a range of antioxidants, which may help prevent the type of cell damage that leads to cancer. One of these is sulforaphane, which is a sulfur-containing compound that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite. Some scientists have suggested that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli may play a role in “green chemo prevention,” in which people use either the whole plant or extracts from it to help prevent cancer.
Broccoli has antioxidant protection: Protective antioxidant compounds in broccoli have been shown to counter skin damage caused by UV radiation. The veg’s lutein and zeaxanthin protect the retina and eye lens, and both have been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, two common eye disorders.
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