The Amazing Health Benefits of Broccoli - an Exceptional Anticancer Superfood and More
A Few Words...
Would you like to know?
- How broccoli can prevent a wide variety of cancers?
- How you can use broccoli to prevent and treat a wide range of health issues related to digestion, heart, vision in the elderly, detoxification of the body and more?
- How you can derive many more amazing health benefits like reducing cholesterol, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, improving immunity levels and more, from this phytonutrient-rich vegetable?
All the above and more only require the knowledge of the correct way to prepare and consume broccoli, which is very easy once you read the information that follows.
The blue links in the following information at various places will also point to ways in which you can :
- Reduce blood pressure naturally.
- Ensure excellent digestive health &
- Learn about ways to reduce cholesterol with natural foods, the natural way.
All these benefits are yours for the taking, at no extra cost, except that you follow what has been outlined faithfully and regularly. Of course, if you have a health problem it is advised you consult your physician regarding incorporating these into your daily diet menu before you actually do so.
So here goes...
General Information About Broccoli
Latin Name: Brassica oleracea.
Cultivar group - Italica group.
Broccoli belongs to the cabbage family. Its flowers mass together to form a large flower head, almost in a tree-like fashion. It is mostly green in colour, These flower heads appear at the tip of stalks, which are attached to a centrally thick stalk having a flower head at its tip too. The stalks are edible. The flower head is surrounded by leaves and it represents a cauliflower in shape.
Broccoli is native to Italy and was brought to the USA by Italian immigrants.
There are 3 varieties of broccoli that are cultivated.
- The most common is the Calabrese broccoli, the commonly available broccoli.
- The Sprouting broccoli has a number of heads on thin stalks.
- The Purple broccoli is a variety of broccoli that is available in Spain, UK and South Italy. It looks similar to cauliflower, the head is made up of tiny flower buds whose tips are sometimes tinged purple.
Broccoli is a plant of the cool season and does not grow well in the hot summer.
Nutrient Levels In Broccoli
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica), fresh, raw,
Nutrition value per 100 gms
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Nutrients in Broccoli
- Broccoli is extremely rich in fibre, Vitamin C and K.
- It contains good amounts of Vitamin A.
- It is a good source of calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc and phosphorus.
- It has excellent amounts of folates with 100 gms of broccoli supplying 16% of the daily requirement.
- It is a storehouse of many phytonutrients like the thiocyanates, indoles, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates and flavonoids like beta carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin.
- It contains a compound glucoraphanin that is converted into sulforaphane by the body.
- Moderately high levels of the B-complex vitamins like niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and pyridoxine are present in broccoli.
- Broccoli is low in calories and contains some omega-3 fatty acids in the flower heads.
- It is rich in kaempferol which acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe
Broccoli Health Benefits
Benefits The Stomach & The Digestive System
Uncooked or raw broccoli, as well as broccoli sprouts, have a very beneficial effect on the stomach and its lining. It is known that Helicobacter pylori, grows excessively in the stomach and also attaches itself firmly to the stomach wall.
Helicobacter pylori are said to cause gastritis; acute gastritis, in which there is accompanying stomach pain or nausea and chronic gastritis in which there is bloating, dyspepsia or indigestion, stomach pains, belching and nausea,
It also causes gastric ulcers, duodenum ulcers and stomach cancer. This bacterium penetrates the stomach lining.
Broccoli prevents the excessive growth of H.pylori.
Benefits The Eyes
The lutein and zeaxanthin in broccoli support eye health. They lessen the incidence of age-related cataract and macular degeneration.
Benefits Sun Damaged Skin
The glucoraphanin in broccoli converts to sulforaphane which counteracts the damaging effects of sunlight on the skin as well as protects from skin cancer.
Benefits of Vitamin D Metabolism
The unusually high amounts of Vitamin K and good amounts of vitamin A is beneficial to people who take large supplemental doses of Vitamin D. In such people, Vitamin K and Vitamin A help to maintain the Vitamin D metabolism in the right balance.
Those deficient in vitamin D and taking supplemental Vitamin D should make a point to consume broccoli regularly, to avoid the problems associated with high doses of vitamin D, which arise when enough Vitamin K and A are not available.
Broccoli lowers cholesterol by binding its fibre with the bile acids so that fats are not digested due to unavailability of bile acids and are thus passed out of the body with the bowel movements.
When this happens, the liver draws cholesterol from the body for producing more bile acids resulting in the lowering of cholesterol levels.
Incidentally, it has been found that steaming increases the cholesterol-reducing effects of broccoli.
Lowers Risk Of Artherosclerosis, Stroke And Heart Attack
The good levels of B complex vitamins viz B6, B12 and folates reduce excessive homocysteine production. Excess homocysteine triggers atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
The glucoraphanin in broccoli also reduces these risks.
Reduces Incidence Of Various Types Of Cancers
Cancer development is related to 3 metabolic conditions of the body. They are;
- Chronic inflammation.
- Oxidative stress.
- Inadequate detoxification of the body.
Research indicates that cancers in the various body organs are a result of a combination of the above-mentioned conditions.
- The isothiocyanates, omega-3 fats and kaempferol components of broccoli are anti-inflammatory in action.
- The high levels of antioxidant Vitamin C, the flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin, and the carotenoids beta carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin along with Vitamin E and various other vitamins and minerals reduce oxidative stress.
- The glucosinolates like glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin along with the isothiocyanates initiate and support the detoxification process in the body.
Broccoli consumption shows the decreased risk to cancers of the prostate, breast, colon, bladder and ovary.
Studies indicate that only about 1/2 a cup of broccoli daily is sufficient to provide reduced cancer risk-benefit while 2-3 cups of broccoli every day will provide optimum protection against cancer risk.
Improved Immunity Levels
The high amounts of Vitamin C, betacarotene along with zinc and selenium effect raised immunity levels.
Preventing Birth Defects In The Fetus
The high folate concentration in broccoli prevents birth defects in the growing fetus.
Some Other Important Benefits
The good calcium levels, along with zinc, magnesium and phosphorus, build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis especially in women and the aged.
Broccoli is very beneficial for those who are lactose intolerant and cannot consume milk to get the needed calcium.
Broccoli reduces the female hormone (estrogen) levels thereby increasing the testosterone levels which is beneficial for men especially athletes.
Iron & folic acid content prevents anaemia.
The chromium and potassium along with fibre reduce blood pressure levels.
The high Vitamin C levels also help in building collagen which repairs skin, ligaments and tissues. In athletes, this can heal injuries sustained in sports, faster.
To protect the maximum nutrients, broccoli should be eaten raw or in salads. It can also be steamed or stir-fried without significant loss in nutrients.
It is best to cook the stalks first as they are a bit tougher and then put in the flower heads when almost done. The flower heads should be cooked at a low temperature of about 100 deg C and for less than 5 minutes to retain the maximum nutrients.
Microwaving and to a larger extent boiling has been found to reduce the concentration of anti-cancer compounds like sulforaphane with about 50% loss taking place in about 10 minutes of boiling.
Some wonderful hubs on Broccoli
- Broccoli Soup Recipe
Cream of broccoli soup is very tasty and nutritious. This recipe gives you the broccoli puree with velvety smooth texture and creamy flavour, and it is simple !
- Ham, Cheese, and Broccoli Ring or Braid
Looking for an elegant and easy one dish meal - try this Ham, Cheese, and Broccoli Ring or Braid. It will be sure to please.
Broccoli sprouts are 3 to 4 day old broccoli saplings. These baby plants taste much like radish due to a particular phytochemical that protects it against vectors.
This phytochemical - glucoraphanin - also acts as an antioxidant and is at least 20 times more concentrated in the broccoli sprouts than in the broccoli flower heads.
Though broccoli sprouts have lower nutrient values than mature broccoli, it is beneficial to consume because of its myrosinase enzyme and glucoraphanin components, which are released on cutting or chewing the baby leaves. Once released they combine in a chemical reaction to convert the glucoraphanin to sulforaphane which is a potent detoxifier, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer substance also helping those with allergy and asthma issues.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly