The health benefits of broccoli are truly impressive. The rich amount of glucosinolates and other nutrients make broccoli a nutritional powerhouse.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family. Health organizations around the world consider cruciferous vegetables as essential foods. The glucosinolates are present in high concentration in cruciferous vegetables. The dark green pigments of broccoli are rich in antioxidant phytochemicals and several vitamins. Broccoli can enhance your health in various ways. Try to take broccoli a minimum of four times a week. It can be raw or cooked. Let us now see the various health benefits of broccoli.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
Prevent cancer: Broccoli is helpful in preventing several types of cancer including colon, breast, prostate and bladder cancers. Broccoli is rated as the best vegetable in preventing colon cancer. Broccoli and other members of the cabbage family have effective anticancer properties. Sulforaphane and indole-3-carbonyl are the important glucosinolates present in broccoli that play a crucial role in fighting against cancer. In particular, indole-3-carbinol inhibits the growth of ovarian, prostate and breast cancer cells.
Improve eyesight: Lots of vitamin A and K found in broccoli are important for vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are important carotenoids that are present naturally in the macula of the eye. These compounds are naturally found in many vegetables and colorful fruits. Broccoli is one such vegetable with rich amount of lutein and zeaxanthin. Diets rich in this two eye nutrients can lower your risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
Strengthen bones: Lots of calcium, potassium and magnesium are found in broccoli. To have strong and healthy bones, muscles and nerves you need these minerals.
Improve digestion: Broccoli is an excellent source of fiber. Fiber improves digestions and keeps a check on your cholesterol levels. Even large portions of broccoli do not contain too many calories. Good news if you are weight conscious.
Maintain heart health: The lutein found in broccoli acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that reduces plaque in your blood vessels. Plaque build-up causes atherosclerosis, reduces blood flow, and increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes. The folate found in broccoli helps to lower homocysteine levels. Higher homocysteine levels are linked with cardiovascular diseases. The potassium present in broccoli helps to normalize blood pressure.
Prevent birth defects: Spina bifida is a birth defect in which the spinal cord is malformed. Pregnant women who don’t get adequate folate (folic acid) develop a higher risk of delivering babies with birth defects. It’s essential to meet the recommended intake level of folate during your early stages pregnancy. Birth defects mostly occur during the first three or four weeks of pregnancy, when the brain and spinal cord are developing. Broccoli is a good source of folate.