A man-made plant, Broccoli was developed in the Northern Mediterranean in the 6th century BCE through breeding of cultivated leafy cole crops. Italian immigrants had first introduced Broccoli to the US. However, it actually started gaining popularity in the 1920s.
Broccoli, an edible green plant belonging to the cabbage family, offers a lot of health benefits due to the presence of multiple nutrients including folic acid, calcium, fiber and vitamin C & vitamin A (mostly as beta-carotene).
Listed below are some of the major health benefits of Broccoli:
1. Lowers cholesterol
An important ingredient in many heart-healthy recipes, Broccoli is considered a cholesterol lowering food. The presence of nutrients such as potassium (in high amount), magnesium and calcium helps in regulating blood pressure and keeping it under control.
The fiber-related nutrients in cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli vegetable combine with the bile chemicals and make them stay inside the intestine from where these chemicals are excreted along with fiber through bowel movement.
This forces the liver to replace the lost bile acids by extracting existing supply of cholesterol, thereby causing a drop in cholesterol level.
2. Prevents cancer
When we consume broccoli, our body processes ‘glucoraphanin’ (an important component of broccoli) into ‘sulforaphane’ which is an effective anti-cancer compound. Sulforaphane helps in eliminating H. pylori, a bacterium found to increase the chances of gastric cancer, from our body.
Broccoli also contains a powerful antioxidant compound, indole-3-carbinol, that is found to suppress the growth of prostate, breast, and cervical cancer.
3. Alleviates inflammation and allergy reaction
Broccoli is rich in anti-inflammatory phyto nutrients that include kaempferol and isothiocyanates. According to different researches, kaempferol has an ability to minimize the action of allergic substances on our body. Also, Omega-3 fatty acids present in broccoli are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
4. As a detoxifying agent
Brocolli is a rich source of phytonutrients, including gluconasturtiin, glucobrassicin and glucoraphanin. These nutrients actively participate in the steps of detox process and help in elimination of unwanted contaminants and toxins from our body.
5. Antioxidant benefits
Among all member of cruciferous family, broccoli is known to have the maximum levels of Vitamin C which is an important antioxidant nutrient.
Vitamin C in association with flavonoids helps in maintaining a healthy oxygen metabolism rate in our body by allowing it to recycle.
Kaempferol and quercitin are among the main flavonoids supplied by broccoli. Lutein and beta-carotene found in broccoli is found to provide body with significant amounts of antioxidants.
6. Improves Bone Health
Due to the presence of calcium and vitamin K in high amounts, broccoli improves bone health and helps in preventing the risk of osteoporosis.
7. Improves immunity
According to research, one cup of broccoli supplies high amount of beta-carotene to the body and improves the immune system. Minerals including zinc and selenium further boost immune defense actions against diseases and foreign particles.
Broccoli can be consumed in both raw and cooked forms. Don’t throw the leaves and stems of broccoli as they are equally nutritious and healthy. In order to draw maximum benefits from broccoli, we recommend you to prefer steaming over boiling when it comes to cooking broccoli. Broccoli being a heart healthy food is a necessary ingredient of blood pressure diet.