The 6 Major Health Benefits of Broccoli



It is hard to argue that broccoli is anything but one of the healthiest foods we can eat. It is a member of what is called the cruciferous family of vegetables. This family also includes cauliflower and cabbage. Its cultivation originated in Italy in the 16th century, and is named after the Latin word “brachium” which means branch or arm.   

Health Benefit of Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the vegetables that are most beneficial to our health because it contains a complete nutrition. The benefits of broccoli are derived from the many important chemicals that sustain the body such as anti-inflammatory nutrients, detox-support nutrients, antioxidant nutrients, and anti-cancer nutrients.

Broccoli is usually steamed for 4-5 minutes or eaten raw, and best served with a meat dish. Even though most of us know that broccoli can give us many benefits, few only know of the real potential of having broccoli in our diet. Below are some of the ways broccoli can improve our lives and well being.

  1. Cancer Prevention – Broccoli is one of the most powerful vegetables when it comes to lowering the risk of developing various forms of cancer. It contains a chemical called indole-3-carbinol which helps DNA repair in damaged cells and also reduces the growth of cancerous tumors. Broccoli also contains a substance called glucoraphanin in which the body can process into the anti-cancer compound called sulforaphane which in turn has the ability to kill bacteria within the body. In a study conducted by the University of Illinois, it has been found that the anti-cancer properties of broccoli can be increased when paired with various spicy foods that contain the enzyme called myrosinase, such as mustard, wasabi and horseradish.
  2. Healthy Bones - Broccoli contains large amounts of both Calcium and vitamin K, both of which are essential for healthy bones, and also reduce the risk of osteoporosis which is a disease that makes your bones more likely to fracture.
  3. Healthy Heart – As mentioned above, broccoli contains sulforaphane which is also anti-inflammatory, may be able to prevent, or even reverse damaged blood vessel linings that can be caused by inflammation due to chronic blood sugar disorders.            Studies have shown that a carotenoid called lutein, which is found in broccoli, can slow down the rate in which your arteries thicken as you grow older, limiting heart diseases and stroke. In addition, vitamin B6 and folate (which is also given to women as supplements in an attempt to get pregnant and during pregnancy), are also present in broccoli, have been proven to limit the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.  
  4. Boost Your Immune System – At least four other ingredients in broccoli help with boosting the immune system which are called beta-carotene, selenium, zinc and the well known vitamin C. From all the members of the cruciferous vegetable family, broccoli has the most concentrated source of vitamin C. This means that broccoli not only protects you from catching the common cold, but also helps people who suffer from hay fever.
  5. Helps Lose Weight and Keeps Digestive System Healthy – Broccoli is high in fiber which keeps your bowels in good working condition allowing you to have a healthy digestive system. The fiber also maintains your blood sugar levels low and also discourages you from eating since it makes you feel fuller for longer periods of time.
  6. Eye Health – Being a very good source of Vitamin A, broccoli can help with your vision. The body needs Vitamin A in order to form vital molecules that help you see in low lighting conditions.  Broccoli also contains lutein as mentioned in point 3, and this chemical is also capable of lowering the risk of developing cataracts as you get older.

Below is a short video explaining how to choose your broccoli and how to cook it to give you all the nutrients is has to offer.

Given all the benefits of Broccoli mentioned above, you can now see what it is a super food and why it should be included in your diet. It is important that broccoli is not overcooked because it will then lose many of its healthy benefits. You should eat broccoli steam or stir fried (less than 5 min) if you do not want to eat it raw, to gain the benefits of broccoli.

Like all foods, if you plan to regularly eat broccoli, it is best to consult your physician with more advanced advice.     

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Great Broccoli Recipes

Sesame Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients:

16 ounces broccoli florets

4 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon red miso

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated

2 -3 drops dark sesame oil (optional)

1 tablespoon sesame seed, toasted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 C).

2. Place the broccoli into a steamer insert and set in a pot over one inch of water. Bring to a boil, cover and steam for about 3 minutes. (You still want the broccoli to be somewhat undercooked. Remove from the heat and transfer broccoli to a cassarole dish. Sprinkle with green onions and drizzle with olive oil, toss to combine.

3. Roast broccoli in the oven for 10-15 minutes until beginning to caramelize, but still tender-crisp.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, miso paste, red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Pour over the roasted broccoli and toss to coat. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

5. NOTE: If you are not a fan of raw garlic flavor, consider stirring the garlic and ginger in with the broccoli before roasting.

Servings:  4

Approx. calories 100 per serving


Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 lb frozen chopped broccoli

4 cups chicken broth (low sodium, fat free)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups nonfat milk                                                                                                                            

8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese

kosher salt

cracked black pepper

Directions: 

1. Over a medium-low heat melt the butter in a largish saucepan and then add the onion and garlic and saute until softened.

2. Add the onion, garlic powder and white pepper and cook for a minute.

3. Add the broccoli and chicken broth, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 mins until broccoli is softened.

4. In the meantime whisk the flour with the milk until flour dissolved.

5. With a hand blender, rough blend the soup leaving some broccoli pieces. You don't want it completely smooth.

6. On a medium heat gradually add the milk mixture. The soup will thicken.

7. Once milk mixture added add the cheddar and melt through the soup.

8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

9. If the soup is too thick, add some more milk to thin.

 

Servings:  4

Approx. calories 450 per serving