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The Amazing Health Benefits Of Broccoli - An Exceptional Anticancer Superfood And More

Updated on October 31, 2016
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

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 risk of artherosclerosis, 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....

broccoli heads
broccoli heads | Source

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 color, 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 a cauliflower, the head being 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)
 
Principle
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
Energy
34 Kcal
1.50%
Carbohydrates
6.64 g
5%
Protein
2.82 g
5%
Total Fat
0.37 g
1%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Dietary Fiber
2.60 g
7%
Vitamins
 
 
Folates
63 mcg
16%
Niacin
0.639 mg
4%
Pantothenic acid
0.573 mg
12%
Pyridoxine
0.175 mg
13%
Riboflavin
0.117 mg
9%
Thiamin
0.071 mg
6%
Vitamin A
623 IU
21%
Vitamin C
89.2 mg
149%
Vitamin E
0.17 mg
1.50%
Vitamin K
101.6 mcg
85%
Electrolytes
 
 
Sodium
33 mg
2%
Potassium
316 mg
7%
Minerals
 
 
Calcium
47 mg
5%
Copper
0.049 mg
5.50%
Iron
0.73 mg
9%
Magnesium
21 mg
5%
Manganese
0.210 mg
9%
Selenium
2.5 mcg
5%
Zinc
0.41 mg
4%
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
Beta-Carotene
361 mcg
--
Beta-Crypto-xanthin
1 mcg
--
Lutein-zeaxanthin
1403 mcg
--

Nutrients in Broccoli


  • Broccoli is extremely rich in fiber, 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 betacarotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • It contains a compound glucoraphanin that is converted into sulforaphane by the body.
  • Moderately high levels of the Bcomplex 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.


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 is 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 glucoraphane in broccoli converts to sulforaphane which counteracts the damaging effects of sunlight on the skin as well as protects from skin cancer.

Benefits 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 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.

Lowers Cholesterol

Broccoli lowers cholesterol by binding its fiber 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 Bcomplex vitamins viz B6, B12 and folates reduce excessive homocysteine production. Excess homocysteine triggers artherosclerosis, 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 combinations 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 flavanoids kaempferol and quercetin, and the carotenoids betacarotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin alond with Vitamin E and various other vitamins and minerals reduce oxidative stress.
  • The glucosinolates like glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian and glucobrassicin along with the isothiocyanates initiate and support the detoxification process in the body.

Broccoli consumption shows decreased risk to cancers of the prostrate, 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 everyday 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.

The iron & folic acid content prevents anemia.

The chromium and potassium along with fiber reduce blood pressure levels.

The high Vitamin C levels also helps in building collagen which repairs skin, ligaments and tissues. In athletes, this can heal injuries sustained in sports, faster.


Using Broccoli


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 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.


Broccoli Sprouts

Source

Broccoli Sprouts


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 sulfophane which is a potent detoxifier, anti inflammatory and anti cancer substance also helping those with allergy and asthma issues.


Disclaimer

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.

Salmon & Broccoli Bake recipe

Broccoli Stem Soup

Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly

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    • younghopes profile image

      Shadaan Alam 3 years ago from India

      I never knew about so many wonderful benefits of broccoli, would try out for sure, voted up and sharing it

    • Missy Mac profile image

      Missy Mac 3 years ago from Illinois

      Hi rajan jolly; I always find your hubs informative and agree about the health benefits of broccoli. I use broccoli in many dishes. Thanks for the article.

    • GoForTheJuggler profile image

      Joshua Patrick 3 years ago from Texas

      Huge broccoli fan here - great hub full of great info. Voted up and more!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks, Peggy for reading and sharing!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Going to pin this and give it a tweet. Broccoli is so nutritious and offers such great health benefits!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Au fait - I agree with you all these cruciferous vegetables are very healthy. Good that you eat them regularly. Broccoli stands out as far for its anti cancer properties. Appreciate all the votes and sharing. Thanks for your continued support.

      @ Sheila - Broccoli is indeed a superfood that should be consumed in any way possible. It is so healthy. Glad you use it in so many ways. Thanks for the votes and visit. Glad to see you.

      @ rebecca - Thank you. It always good to see you and appreciate your valuable support.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Broccoli is one of my favorite veggies along with Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, onions, eggplant . . . All have so many good nutrients in them! Another very informative article!

      Voted up, BAUI, and will share!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      finally. we get rajan's views on broccoli! Thanks! Love ya, rajan!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Excellent hub, as always! You give so much useful and interesting information in all your hubs. Broccoli is such a nutritous food, I try to include it in most of my meals. I put broccoli in scrambled eggs, cornbread and many more. We eat it raw as a snack. Great hub! Voting up and useful! :)

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      I eat lots of broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are a favorite too. Cauliflower also, and as I've already told you, I love onions. They're my favorite. All these veggies are good for fighting cancer and a number of other human maladies. Broccoli is perhaps the best.

      Great hub! Voted up, BAUI, and will share!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Peggy - Thanks for stopping by, voting and sharing.

      @ rebecca - Thanks for the compliments and sharing.

      @ jesse - thanks for sharing your views. Appreciate the visit.

    • jessefutch profile image

      jessefutch 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Broccoli is actually one of the many foods that have negative calories! Your body burns more calories chewing and digesting broccoli than it has to begin with. Broccoli is an excellent superfood! Awesome hub.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I love broccoli. Thanks for reminding me of how good it is for you. Great recipes, photos and an all around great Hub. Shared and voted+

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Such good information about the healthy food that is broccoli. I just bought some today in the grocery store. Love eating it raw as well as cooked. Thanks for giving me more reasons to eat it more often. Up votes and sharing.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ L.L. Woodard - Vegetables on their own are healthy, foods high in fats and calories nullify their health giving properties. I'm glad you're trying to do just that.

      Appreciate your visit and sharing. Thanks.

      @ georgescifo - Glad to have provided the needed info. Thanks for visiting.

    • georgescifo profile image

      georgescifo 4 years ago from India

      Never did I know that Broccoli was such a useful vegetable. Thanks for sharing and explaining it in the best possible ways..

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

      The chemistry of foods is so amazing to learn and understand. To think of all the chemicals and nutrients in one simple vegetable is pretty mind-boggling to consider.

      I enjoy broccoli, but have had to train myself to enjoy it without always being accompanied/covered with cheese.

      Voted up and shared.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      unknown spy, thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      This is one of my favorite food..i love broccoli with beef.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for stopping by Gypsy. Appreciate the read and share.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. Thanks for this very informative and beneficial hub. Love broccoli. Good to know it's so healthy. Passing this on.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks a lot dinkan. Appreciate your read and kind comments. Thanks for the support.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 4 years ago from India

      Another great article rajanjolly. This article has added more useful information and had further established my belief that these are true. Welldone and i appreciate your efforts to make this hub. Voted up and useful, shared.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 4 years ago

      Broccoli, part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, is an excellent food with anti-cancer properties. Other foods with anticancer properties are mushrooms and garlic. I try to eat them every week (I know I should be eating it every day).

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      I am a broccoli fanatic! Leave off all the cheeses or whatever. Raw or steamed it's okay by me!

      I did have a good friend whose father had cancer. He attended a Cancer Alternative Treatment Center in Louisville, Ky. From terminal to still alive 9 years later. Major food item prescribed: Broccoli!

      Great Hub! Very Informative!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Hi Carly, glad you like the detailed info. Thanks for reading and appreciating.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      I have never read so much about broccoli before. You gave me more reasons to keep on eating this pretty little looking tree.

      Thank you for making it so clear and informing me on things I would never have known.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ novascotiamiss - sorry to learn about your condition. I agree with your observations.

      Thank you for sparing time to read and leave your feedback.

      @ flashmakeit - thank you.

      @ Patty - your comments are uplifting. Thanks for visiting.

      @ Kim - thanks for sharing your views. Much appreciated.

      @ Sueswan - Thank you for all the kind words. I appreciate your visit. Have a good day.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Linda - eating it raw is just about the best way. Thanks for stopping by.

      @ Josh - thanks for the compliment my friend. You are too kind.

      @ TT - great to hear that. Enjoy good health. Thanks for visiting.

      @ Purvis - you humble me with your comments my friend. Take care.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 4 years ago

      Hi Rajan,

      I like broccoli but after reading all the benefits of this vegetable, I will eat more.

      Great hub and great recipes.

      Take care :)

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      These hubs you write are amazing! Voted as such ^_^ Fresh broccoli juiced is surprisingly good, I suppose now I'll have to eat and drink more of it.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 4 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Voted Up, Useful, Awesome, and Interesting!!! I am a huge fan of broccoli and my family enjoys it as well!!! I was aware of some of the benefits, but I learned so much more from your Hub!!! I have been enjoying this series and appreciate that you take the time to share this valuable information with us!!!

    • flashmakeit profile image

      flashmakeit 4 years ago from usa

      I love broccoli! Thank you for information about the benefits of broccoli.

    • novascotiamiss profile image

      novascotiamiss 4 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Very nice and informative article. I am a big fan of broccoli and cauliflower myself and I really enjoy it. However, I have a thyroid condition (hypothyroidism) which is very common especially among women over 50 years of age. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are goitrogenic which means that they can cause health problems in thyroid patients. They are ok if eaten occasionally and fully cooked. However, I have to avoid raw broccoli and certain other raw vegetables from the same family. I just wanted to mention this as there are over 200 Million people worldwide who suffer from thyroid disease, many of whom have not been diagnosed.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

      This is one of my favorite veggies. I fix it in so many ways, and one of my favorite is Broccoli Slaw.

      Thanks you for your healthy hubs---they might help us live longer.

      Thanks,

      Your Hub Friend,

      Bobbi Purvis

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Finally one that my family and I are doing right! :) We eat a lot of broccoli! Loved the information about it! Great job, Rajan. :)

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Rajan,

      I do not know how you do it, but you do! You never cease to provide with valuable information about food that we had no idea about! Or maybe just me that has no idea! LOL

      Either way, interesting read here Rajan, Thanks!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Yummy one of my favorite foods. I am a broccoli fanatic. I was aware of the health benefits. I prefer it raw, and uncooked. And not the soup! Oh my! When my kids make broccoli and cheese soup the kitchen smells so, so bad. Too much information, Rajan?? Haha! Fab hub! :)

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Hi John, I'm so glad you appreciate the finer points. Thanks for reading. Much appreciated.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      healthylife, glad you liked and I hope you start incorporating this healthy vegetable in your diet. Thanks for stopping by to read, vote and share.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Hi Ruchira,

      Thanks for this interesting feedback, read and votes.

    • JCielo profile image

      JCielo 4 years ago from England

      Good point about vitamin D metabolism. Extremely interesting and useful information here. Voted up and more.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks my friend your comments always lift my spirits Thank you.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Another awesome health hub!! This something I should add to my daily diet especially with my health history after reading this. Voted up and shared!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Interesting hub. I use Broccoli in my cooking and usually cook it with a little of urad daal. That tends to give it a little bit of crispiness.

      many votes indeed!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was just about the leave and your hub popped up....and I'm glad I stuck around long enough to read this. My friend, you do a wonderful job with these hubs. They are filled with valuable information and well-researched....plus....they are presented simply so that they can be understood. Loved this hub; who would have guessed that broccoli was so beneficial regarding cancer? Thank you!

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