Health Benefits of Broccoli – Nutrition and Side Effects

Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrients, including fiber, potassium, folate, and manganese that is packed with powerful health benefits. Keep reading to learn all about Health Benefits of Broccoli! Plants are a source of nutrients and contain essential vitamins and minerals. One of the plant-based vegetables, broccoli is the best food for many health benefits. Broccoli is scientifically known as Brassica oleracea. It belongs to the cabbage family (Brassicaceae). In addition, it is one of the best and most nutritious cruciferous vegetables.
Broccoli is from the eastern Mediterranean. Then it became popular in Italy. Although it was born in Italy more than 2000 years ago, it is growing all over the world.

Broccoli is a winter vegetable that rarely grows in the summer. However, it grows best at temperatures between 18°C and 23°C.
It looks like a small tree and comes in three main forms:

  • Broccoli Calabrese
  • Broccoli is sprouting
  • Cauliflower is yellow

Selection of edible broccoli florets. These flowers (heads) extend from the large edible plant and resemble a wooden structure. It has dark green flowers with small green leaves. However, you should avoid broccoli with a yellow color when shopping.
Broccoli is a source of essential nutrients, vitamins A, C and riboflavin. It is also rich in iron and calcium.
Broccoli is also low in calories and rich in fiber and antioxidants. Therefore, adding broccoli to your daily diet can help prevent various diseases.

Health Benefits of Broccoli

The physical structure of broccoli

Fresh broccoli is dark green and grows 60-90 cm in height. The central axis and the ends of the branches are packed with clusters of green flower buds. It thrives in cold weather and the flowers are collected in two to three months depending on the weather.

The Indian variety comes from broccoli sprouts that grow green buds and large, fleshy flowering plants that form heads. The main brands are KTS-I, Solan Green, Lucky, Fiesta, Pushpa, Aishwarya, PalamVichitra.

Uses of broccoli

Broccoli has great medicinal value; the parts that grow above the ground make medicine. It is popular in the health system because of its properties, which are anti-cancer and anti-oxidant. It treats high cholesterol, fibromyalgia and also prevents many types of cancer and other diseases.

Nutritional Value of Broccoli

Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable that is low in carbohydrates and contains many essential vitamins, minerals, salts and phytonutrients.

  • Total carbohydrates: 6g (59.46%)
  • Total protein : 2.57 (25.6%)
  • Total fat: 0.4g (3.94%)
  • Dietary fibre: 3.0 g
  • Zinc: 54 micrograms
  • Manganese: 18.83 micrograms
  • Calcium: 4.65 mg
  • Iron: 45.83 micrograms
  • Vitamin K: 102 micrograms
  • Potassium: 145 mg
  • Beta-carotene: 30.6 micrograms
  • Lutein: 85.5 micrograms
  • Vitamin C: 93.2 mg
  • Phosphorus: 7.01 mg
  • Folate: 71 micrograms

Broccoli is one of the most useful raw vegetables. Many health educators recommend its consumption due to its high nutritional content. It is also a source of antioxidants and effectively fights free radicals.

Broccoli is also a source of dietary fiber, protein and essential vitamins such as A, C and E, which are an important part of any healthy diet.

What are the health benefits of broccoli?

Health Benefits of Broccoli

Broccoli is a very nutritious vegetable. They are rich in various compounds, such as vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, sulfur-containing compounds, anti-cancer agents, antioxidants.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli provide sulfur-containing compounds mainly for their flavor. These bioactive compounds can provide many health benefits.

Eating broccoli stimulates biological and metabolic activity. Therefore, it often has a beneficial effect on the entire human body.

Antioxidants in broccoli play an important role in preventing inflammatory diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Broccoli also improves liver health and helps with nutrition. Learn about the health benefits of broccoli.

1. Helps in Weight Loss 

Would you like to know the secret to losing weight fast? It’s important to include more nutritious, low-calorie, and nutrient-dense foods in your diet.

Broccoli is nutritious because of its high water content, so it takes up space in your stomach and reduces hunger or overeating without adding too many calories to your diet.

Broccoli is a source of fiber and has antidiabetic effects. As a result, it promotes insulin sensitivity and helps weight loss. We talk about insulin resistance when the body’s insulin does not absorb glucose. It is important for weight gain. Broccoli reduces insulin resistance and helps in weight loss.

In addition, broccoli contains various phytochemicals known as bioactive compounds. It is effective in weight management.

These active ingredients target fat cells in the body and reduce fat. Therefore, broccoli helps a lot in weight loss due to ethanol, chloroform and other active ingredients. Ethanol and chloroform have been shown to have anti-obesity properties and help with weight loss.

2. Anti-cancer Properties Helps Fight Cancer

Why is broccoli the best food for cancer prevention?

Broccoli has good anti-cancer properties. Due to its many bioactive compounds, it is one of the strongest anticarcinogenic vegetables. Anti-cancer compounds found in broccoli include:

Glucosinolates (divided into compounds such as indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanates)
Sulforaphane, derived from glucoraphanin
Active substances prevent the development of bladder, breast, liver, lung, prostate, kidney, colon, mouth, colon and skin cancer. They protect cells from DNA damage.

DNA damage is caused by oxidative stress, mutations or environmental changes. In addition, they contribute to the elimination of free radicals and carcinogens.

These compounds promote programmed cell death (apoptosis) and ensure the normal functioning of the human body. They also limit the size of the tumor.

Laboratory studies show that broccoli reduces the production of large lymphocytic leukemia cells. Therefore, broccoli has both preventive and curative properties.

Isothiocyanates stimulate the release of a special “carcinogenic agent” that accelerates the removal of toxins from the body. Many studies have shown that foods rich in antioxidants, such as cruciferous vegetables, inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors and prevent DNA damage, so they are known to reduce the risk of colon, bladder, prostate, breast and other tumors.

In addition to providing high levels of isothiocyanate, broccoli is also a beneficial food in preventing cancer due to its high phytochemicals called sulforaphane. This anti-inflammatory compound increases the activity of enzymes called type 2 enzymes, which effectively fight cancer-causing substances in the body.

In fact, sulforaphane is the most powerful inducer of secondary enzymes of any known plant chemical and helps reduce the risk of fatal types of cancer, including prostate cancer. This is what makes broccoli one of the best anti-cancer foods.

Another study supports the claim that eating broccoli every day can reduce the risk of certain cancers.

3. Fights inflammation

Broccoli has anti-inflammatory properties. The inflammation can be caused by spreading too much C-reactive plasma protein in the body.

Analysis of broccoli shows a 48% reduction in C-reactive plasma protein (CRP) levels. This means that eating broccoli reduces inflammation.

Broccoli also contains kaempferol, a flavonoid that has strong anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, sulforaphane in broccoli is a treatment that prevents arthritis.

Similarly, other scientific studies claim that the chemical composition of broccoli makes it anti-inflammatory.

4. Liver protection

Broccoli protects the liver and helps remove toxins from the body. It also reduces the effect of serum enzymes and bilirubin, which can damage the liver.

Carbon tetrachloride causes oxidative stress and produces reactive radicals. Therefore, it can cause liver damage. However, eating broccoli helps fight carbon tetrachloride in the liver.

Research also shows that broccoli protects against the accumulation of toxins in the liver. Therefore, you can use it to treat some liver diseases. This is because of the positive effect on liver cells. In addition, the flavonoids and sulfur compounds in broccoli also help prevent liver damage.

5. Increases Gut and Digestive Health

Good bacteria in the gut keep the gut healthy. In addition to promoting heart health, fiber-rich foods keep your digestive system smooth and healthy. Broccoli? It can help.

Eating whole grains as part of a high-fiber diet promotes regular bowel movements, better gut health, a more alkaline digestive system (which boosts immunity), prevents constipation, IBS, and other digestive problems.

The compound sulforaphane isothiocyanate in broccoli effectively fights against harmful bacteria in the intestines and prevents oxidation that can lead to colon cancer. Research shows that glucosinolates, which microbes can metabolize in the digestive tract, also help increase metabolic and endocrine function.

Human and animal studies show that a diet high in broccoli can reduce the colonization of bacteria, reduce the expression of tumor growth and inflammation, leading to high antioxidant activity, which improves liver function.

Broccoli nutrition supports the body’s detoxification process through the phytonutrients glucoraphanin, gluconasturtian and glucobrassicin, which promote liver health.

6. Aids in Healthy Pregnancy 

Pregnant women need nutrients, and broccoli provides many of them. Therefore, it has a positive effect on the growth and development of mother and child. Broccoli is part of the vitamin B complex. These vitamins promote the health of the growing child.

Anemia is one of the expected symptoms in women during pregnancy. However, adding broccoli to our daily diet can prevent this. These studies show that broccoli contributes to the child’s brain and intellectual development.

7. Improves Bone and Joint Health

Research shows that broccoli improves bone and joint health. A rich source of vitamins K, C, A, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. These are key nutrients that help strengthen bones and joints.

Along with this, the antioxidant sulforaphane in broccoli can prevent osteoarthritis. However, there is no clear evidence to prove the same.

8. Control Blood Sugar Levels

Broccoli is an anti-diabetic, antioxidant and essential nutrient.

The best kind of broccoli is the sprouted variety. Antioxidants in broccoli sprouts reduce cell stress and improve pancreatic cells. As a result, it increases insulin production and lowers blood sugar levels.

Research shows that broccoli makes insulin resistant in people with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, eating fresh broccoli sprouts lowers blood sugar levels and controls blood sugar.

9. Gastroprotective Action 

Stomach infections caused by Helicobacter pylori (bacteria) are common. These diseases pose a serious risk of colon cancer.

Broccoli is a source of glucoraphanin. It is converted into bioactive anticancer drugs such as sulforaphane glucosinolate. These active ingredients are antibacterial and act as tumor suppressors. Therefore, eating broccoli protects against stomach ulcers and tumors.

Interestingly, sprouted broccoli contains 20 times more sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS) than well-grown vegetables. So if you want to prevent stomach problems, include whole broccoli (sprouted form) in your daily diet.

10. Fight Against Infectious Diseases 

Broccoli is not only carcinogenic. It also has antibacterial and antiviral effects.
Various bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites cause infectious diseases.
Research shows the presence of antimicrobial peptides in the leaves and flowers of broccoli. Broccoli extract also contains ethyl acetate and chloroform, which are useful against various bacteria.

Broccoli also contains powerful organic acids, such as ascorbic and malic acid, which are antibacterial.

Another study found that 3,3′-diindolylmethane, a component of broccoli, is a powerful modulator. Provides internal protection against viruses and bacteria.

11. Rich in Antioxidants

Broccoli is a source of antioxidants. It contains important vitamins such as A, C, K, E and B-complex, which improves the antioxidant status of patients under stress. If any of these vitamins are lacking, add broccoli to your diet.

Research shows that broccoli can reduce oxidative stress. This is due to antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which prevent cell damage and improve vision.

Broccoli also contains ascorbic acid and polyphenols, which protect red blood cells from scavenging free radicals.

Therefore, the active ingredients in broccoli water reduce DNA damage by absorbing oxygen radicals.

12. Improvement in Heart Health

Eating broccoli benefits heart health in many ways, such as preventing heart attacks and strokes, keeping blood vessels clean, and regulating high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Cardiovascular disease is often one of the leading causes of death. High in fiber, broccoli is loaded with sulforaphane. Reduces oxidative damage from free radicals.

Eating broccoli is effective against heart diseases such as high blood pressure and stroke. Broccoli lowers LDL, serum cholesterol and triglycerides. It also improves HDL levels, which reduce the risk of heart disease.

The detoxifying effect of antioxidants makes broccoli protect the heart and prevent harmful heart inflammation. Therefore, it is safe to say that broccoli improves heart health.

13. Potent Immunomodulatory Actions 

Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Therefore, it has a strong immunosuppressive action.

A few studies show that broccoli consumption can increase white blood cells and macrophages and reduce inflammatory cytokine levels.

It helps improve the natural immune response by increasing the production of new bone marrow cells and antibodies. In addition, sulforaphane and broccoli have some beneficial immunosuppressive effects.

14. Prevents Premature Ageing and Sun Damage

Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause cancer in our skin. The dramatic increase in skin cancer can be attributed to the depletion of the ozone layer, environmental pollution and expected global warming.

All of these environmental changes can cause aging and sun damage, and the accumulation of reactive radicals contributes to oxidative stress.

Broccoli’s important bioactive compound, sulforaphane, protects against UV rays and the recurrence of skin cancer.

Hence, it effectively inhibits tumor formation. Research also suggests that including broccoli in your daily diet increases the metabolic activity of your body.

15. Promotes Healthy Skin

Do you want to maintain healthy and youthful skin even in old age? Thanks to sulforaphane, which helps repair skin damage, consuming broccoli improves the look, feel and health of your skin.

High vitamin A and C content prevents collagen damage, skin cancer, UV damage, wrinkles and skin inflammation. In addition, beta-carotene, produced from vitamin A in broccoli, is important for immune system function and has been shown to help fight cancer, including skin cancer.

16. Enhances Oral Health

Vitamin C, calcium and kaempferol in broccoli help maintain oral and dental health.

17. Maintains Eye Health and Vision

A lesser-known benefit of eating broccoli is that it protects the eyes from age-related problems. It has a positive effect on eye health due to the high amount of carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are very important for eye health and maintaining good vision in old age.

They help protect night vision and prevent UV damage to the retina and cornea of the eye. A diet rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin A is a natural way to prevent macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.

How does broccoli help in weight loss?

It is associated with weight gain. Many people eat the dark green flowers and its branches; many reasons for this:

  • Broccoli is a fiber-rich vegetable. Fiber-rich foods slow down digestion. Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel in the digestive system, thus creating a feeling of “fullness” for a long time.
  • In addition, ghrelin is a special hormone that tells the body when it is hungry. Fiber also helps reduce the secretion of ghrelin, reducing hunger.
  • Eating small portions can help you feel full longer.
  • It is low in calories, which makes it possible to eat it in large quantities. That is why it is a great choice for snacks.
  • Broccoli is 90% water and contains nutrients that play a role in weight loss.
  • It has an incredible amount of fat, which is an added benefit.

Broccoli – Side Effects and Precautions

Broccoli is good to eat and does not have many side effects. However, there may be side effects.

  • The high content of Broccoli can inhibit the function of the intestines and cause gas. Happens if you drink too much alcohol. However, many cruciferous vegetables can make you feel hot, but the health benefits outweigh the discomfort.
  • If you are taking prescription medications, consult your doctor before eating broccoli. Also, people taking blood thinners should avoid eating broccoli because the vitamin K in it can reduce the effectiveness of the drug.
  • If you have liver problems, don’t eat too much broccoli. The presence of different cytochromes in broccoli can change the way the liver is treated.
  • If you have little iodine in your body or live in rural areas such as the mountains, you may be at risk for hypothyroidism. Therefore, the consumption of broccoli should be limited.

How to Add Broccoli in your diet?

Broccoli is usually grassy, earthy and slightly bitter. It’s not as bitter as many dark greens, but it’s not as sweet as many red and orange vegetables.

If you want a mild, sweet taste, broccoli is a good choice. If you want something spicy and sharp, broccoli is the best choice.

How to choose and save:
It’s important to buy organic broccoli whenever possible—given that the Environmental Working Group ranks it as one of the best vegetables to eat every year. While you can always look for raw broccoli at farmers markets and grocery stores, organic broccoli is also a good choice and can save you money buying it winter.

When choosing this vegetable, look for bright, firm and compact buds. A yellow or brown color and soft texture means that the food is doing well.

In order for this vegetable to retain its high nutritional value, it is useful to eat fresh broccoli as soon as possible, preferably within two or three days. This is because some of the phytonutrients in broccoli are lost during post-harvest storage.

To keep broccoli fresh, store it tightly in a warm paper towel in the refrigerator, or place it in a bowl of ice water. Do not store in a sealed bag or plastic bag as it needs air circulation.

You can freeze chopped broccoli for several months.

Bottom Line

Broccoli is one of the few edible vegetables that contains many important nutrients and powerful medicinal benefits.

It is low in calories, rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, which has many health benefits. So, add broccoli to your diet.

Broccoli is popular in many countries. However, it is not yet widespread in India. In addition, more photochemical studies of this superfood are needed.

However, published research shows that broccoli has a good anti-cancer effect that is worth watching.

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