How Broccoli Helps Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Nutrient Content

Vitamins

Excellent Source of: 

  • Vitamin C – 135%
  • Vitamin K – 116%

Good Source of: 

  • Folate – 13%

Also a Source of:

  • Vitamin B6 – 8%
  • Riboflavin – 6%
  • Vitamin E – 4%
  • Thiamin – 4%

Minerals

Good Source of: 

  • Manganese – 10%

Also a Source of:

  • Potassium – 8%
  • Phosphorus – 6%
  • Magnesium – 5%
  • Calcium – 4%
  • Iron – 4%

Other

Also a Source of:

  • Fiber – 9%
  • Antioxidants – Lutein, zeaxanthin, glucosinolates, isothiocyanates

*Nutritional Info From (1)

How Broccoli Prevents Chronic Disease

Broccoli contains a number of compounds that help improve your long-term prognosis for chronic disease.

How Broccoli Prevents Cancer

Broccoli is considered a cruciferous vegetable, the same family as leafy greens and cauliflower. Research has shown that consumption of cruciferous vegetables reduces your risk of several cancers, such as lung and colorectal cancers. (2)

  • There are a number of sulfur-containing compounds in broccoli, including glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, that promote detoxification and protect cells from cancer.
    • These compounds have been studied under the pretense of prevention of almost every cancer, including breast, blood, colon, lung, and prostate cancers. (3) Further studies are needed to understand these promising results definitively.
  • Broccoli is also packed with other antioxidants like kaempferol and gallic acid. (4) Antioxidants protect us from free radicals that damage our cells and lead to cancer by neutralizing them at the source.

How Broccoli Prevents Cardiovascular Disease

Vegetables are an excellent resource for preventing cardiovascular diseases and are recommended for daily consumption to prevent major cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke. (5)

  • Broccoli has strong anti-inflammatory characteristics, which help it reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Chronic inflammation has been shown to increase cardiovascular disease risk. Therefore, dietary consumption of broccoli can help reduce CVD risk by improving some of its biomarkers. (10)
  • One study showed that individuals who consumed broccoli at least 4 times a week were at a lower risk of hypertension than those that consumed them less than once a month. (6)
  • The sulfur compounds previously mentioned also help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. (7) When LDL cholesterol is absorbed into the bloodstream at high amounts, the cholesterol can stick to the blood vessel walls and block the flow of blood. Eventually, this can lead to a heart attack or stroke. 
  • One cup of broccoli provides you with over 100% of your daily dose of vitamin K. Vitamin K helps to prevent blood clots and consequential cardiac events. (14)

How Broccoli Prevents Diabetes

Broccoli is an excellent resource for diabetes prevention. Broccoli is a good fiber source, contains almost no calories, and has a very limited sugar content. Therefore, broccoli is considered a low glycemic food, meaning it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels significantly. Blood sugar spikes place a lot of demand on our bodies to produce insulin. Eventually, our body becomes resistant to insulin and cannot move glucose into the cells effectively. Foods like broccoli fill you up quicker and slow digestion to prevent these problems from occurring. 

  • Studies have shown that the sulfur compounds in broccoli may even reduce insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients. (8)
  • Whole vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. (9)

Broccoli Promotes a Number of Health Benefits

How Broccoli Promotes Digestion

Broccoli contains fiber and is rich in water content, which helps aid your digestion by promoting regular bowel movements. (11) Broccoli also has a positive impact on our gut microbiome. One study showed that the effects of broccoli consumption on gut bacteria improved endocrine function and metabolism. (12)

How Broccoli Promotes Immune Health

One cup of broccoli provides you with more than your daily dose of vitamin C. Vitamin C supports a number of immune system functions that help our bodies fight off foreign pathogens. (13)

How Broccoli Promotes Vision

Broccoli contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are crucial for protecting our eyes from damage. These chemicals help prevent age-related macular degeneration, or the loss of vision associated with old age. (15)

How Broccoli Promotes Healthy Aging

One sulfur compound in broccoli that has been shown to aid healthy aging of skin is sulforaphane. Sulforaphane protects our skin from environmental stressors and has been shown to promote a number of mechanisms that deteriorate as we age. (16) Further research must be conducted to confirm these findings. 

As mentioned previously, broccoli is loaded in vitamin C. Vitamin C is a nutrient that is not very common in many vegetables. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in skin cells, neutralizing free radicals generated by UV rays. Vitamin C also promotes collagen formation–collagen is essential for skin health. (17)

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