In this article, top amazing health benefits of broccoli, its nutritional facts and side effects will be clearly analyzed to help you have a better understanding of this plant.
Broccoli (1), whose scientific name is Brassica oleracea (2), is regarded as a member of cabbage family. It is widely believed that broccoli started being cultivated in Italy and expanded to other neighboring countries around the 6th century BC. In colonial times, broccoli was brought to the New World and became popular in the United States after that.
Broccoli can bring to you a variety of tastes because it contains different components. It is often characterized with the dark or purplish green color. Although it is commonly used in cooking nowadays, it is recommended that broccoli be consumed raw so that we can absorb its nutrients to the fullest extent. Cooking will lead to the loss of some necessary nutrients.
90 percent of raw broccoli is water, followed by carbs and protein with 7% and 3%, respectively. Interestingly, this vegetable provides nearly no fat. It also contains a low amount of calories, as 100 grams of broccoli gives us only 34 calories.
Fiber and sugars are the main components of carbs in broccli and two of them have many positive impacts on our overall health.
Protein plays a crucial role in our body’s growth and maintenance. Compared to other vegetables, broccoli contains more proteins, but in general, its amount is insignificant because of its watery content.
On the other hand, a diversity of vitamins is an advantage of broccoli. Vitamin C makes up for the largest part, as 45 grams of broccoli can meet 70 percent of the amount of vitamin C we need in one day. Besides, vitamin K1, potassium, manganese and iron are other important compounds in broccoli.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
With all above-mentioned information, it is possible to see that broccoli has a lot of great effects on our health. Below are top health benefits of broccoli.
One of the most significant health benefits of broccoli is to reduce the risk of cancer considerably. Cancer is caused when abnormal cells develop rapidly in the body. According to some observational studies, the regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables, for example, broccoli, can lower the possibility of suffering from different types of cancers, from lung, breast, to prostate or gastric cancer (3).
When examining this property of cruciferous vegetables, scientists have found out the presence of compounds knowned as isothiocyanates. They are super effective in preventing inflammation, oxidative stress and cancer growth in our body. Furthermore, they also contribute to a stronger immune system.
2. Skin Care
The richness of vitamins and antioxidant nutrients in broccoli is said to have positive effects on the condition of human skin. This is also one of the best health benefits of broccoli, especially for women. Vitamins A, B, E and omega-3 fatty acids in broccoli will make your skin stay healthy from the inside. Moreover, broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which serves as a protective shield against harmful sun rays.
3. Eye Health
As we get older, the malfunction of body parts can be foreseen. And eyes are not an exception, especially when they have to work intensively through the days. Fortunately, you can use broccoli to prevent the damage to your eyes and even improve its function. The presence of lutein and zeaxanthin in broccoli is said to be related to lower risk of eye problems (4).
In addition, broccoli’s considerable amount of vitamin A will prevent us from experiencing night blindness, which is caused by a shortage of vitamin A. Broccoli also provides beta-carotene that turns into vitamin A.
A sufficient intake of fiber will make sure that your stomach functions well and there is no difficulty in bowel movements. Undeniably, broccoli is known as an abundant source of fiber and plays a vital part in the prevention against stomach problems. You can stay away from constipation thanks to this vegetable as well.
Besides, the number of vitamins and magnesium in broccoli can help you cope with acidity and make it easier to absorb nutrients from foods.
5. Bone Health
The next one among health benefits of broccoli is to enhance your bone health, thanks to its abundance of essential nutrients, from calcium, magnesium to phosphorus and zinc. It should be consumed by the most vulnerable groups who are likely to experience the deficiency of calcium, such as children, elder people, or pregnant women (5).
Side Effects of Broccoli
There is no doubt about various health benefits of broccoli, but like other foods, it also has some downsides. You had better be well aware of them in order to use this vegetable in the right way.
For sensitive people, broccoli might be harmful because they can affect adversely thyroid glands. As a consequence, thyroid problems will occur.
On the other hand, people who take blood thinners are recommended to discuss with doctors so as to avoid unwanted scenario.