Broccoli is a vegetable that you probably think you know everything about. You’ve seen it in salads, stir-fries, and even frozen dinners. But have you ever wondered what happens when you start eating broccoli daily?
Broccoli has been called the “queen of vegetables” for good reason. It’s packed with vitamins A, vitamin C, as well as potassium and fiber (1). It’s also low in calories and fat, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to eat healthier.
Did You Know?:Italian immigrants first introduced broccoli to the United States in the 1800s.
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Just one cup of broccoli provides nearly half of your daily vitamin C needs. It also fights inflammation and oxidative stress (2). This can help prevent conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. Here are the 10 health benefits of adding broccoli to your diet regularly.
1. Reduces inflammation
Broccoli contains several nutrients that can help reduce inflammation in the body. The sulforaphane found in broccoli is believed to be one of its key anti-inflammatory compounds (3).
Some research suggests that sulforaphane may help prevent heart disease by reducing levels of enzymes linked to inflammation in arteries (4). It may also help protect against cancer by reducing inflammation caused by carcinogens in the digestive tract (5).
Broccoli also contains kaempferol, along with other types of flavonoids (6). Kaempferol has been shown to help prevent certain types of cell damage caused by free radicals (7). It also appears to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body and may lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
Summary:Broccoli has ingredients including sulforaphane and kaempferol, which may help reduce inflammation and free radicals in the body.
2. Aids in weight loss
Eating broccoli may help you lose weight because it contains certain nutrients that aid in digestion. The sulforaphane compound in broccoli helps stimulate the production of enzymes that break down fat cells in the body (8).
Sulforaphane can be found in other cruciferous vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cauliflower as well as broccoli greens. If you want to get more sulforaphane into your diet without eating large amounts of broccoli every day, try adding these other vegetables to your meals at least once per week!
Broccoli’s fiber content helps keep you feeling full longer so you don’t feel tempted to reach for sugary snacks or other unhealthy treats. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol levels, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke (9).
A cup of broccoli has only 43 calories but provides 3 grams of dietary fiber. Broccoli also contains small amounts of folic acid, iron, and calcium.
Summary:In addition to sulforaphane, broccoli has tons of fiber which can help aid in digestion. It can help you to feel full for longer which can help with weight loss.
3. Helps detox the body
The indole-3-carbinol found in broccoli is a phytonutrient that helps detoxify the body by activating the liver’s enzymes that detoxify carcinogens (10). Phytonutrients are the chemicals found in plants that have been shown to have several health benefits (11).
They are sometimes called phytochemicals or bioactive compounds because they are important to our health but can’t be produced by the body.
Indole-3-carbinol has been found to prevent DNA damage from toxic chemicals in both animal and human studies. In addition to containing indole-3-carbinol, broccoli is high in antioxidants that help prevent damage to cells by free radicals (12).
Summary:Have you ever heard of Indole-3-carbinol? It is an ingredient in broccoli that has been found to help with liver health, ultimately promoting detoxification in the body.
4. Helps slow the aging process
A study from Johns Hopkins University found that broccoli has a protective effect on the aging process (13). The researchers found that people who ate more broccoli had longer telomeres which are the caps at the end of chromosomes that protect them from damage. Shorter telomeres have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and age-related cognitive decline.
Broccoli is also rich in vitamin C, which is needed to create collagen. Collagen is vital for holding together connective tissues throughout the body (14). This includes muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
As we age, our bodies produce less collagen and elastin than in our youth, which causes our skin to get wrinkly. Vitamin C can help slow this process by encouraging the production of these proteins within the body.
Summary:Broccoli is rich in vitamin C which helps to create collagen, which can help with skin elasticity and promote youthful skin.
5. Speeds up muscle recovery after exercise
Broccoli contains glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. These chemicals are thought to play an important role in broccoli’s ability to increase muscle recovery after exercise.
Glucosinolates may also help protect against cancer because they’re able to inhibit certain enzymes that promote tumor growth (15).
Researchers at Panjab University in India gave broccoli extracts to 18 healthy volunteers before doing a squat exercise test on a leg extension machine (16). The volunteers also took part in regular strength training three times a week for six weeks.
The researchers found that consuming broccoli extract significantly increased the amount of force produced by the muscles during each squat test. This means that their muscles were stronger than those who didn’t take broccoli extract before exercising.
Summary:Glucosinolates are compounds found in broccoli that may help with exercise recovery in addition to growing muscles.
6. Regulate blood sugar levels
Broccoli can help regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. In one study, diabetic mice that were fed broccoli sprouts had lower fasting blood glucose levels than those who were not given broccoli sprouts (17).
Another study showed that when subjects with type 2 diabetes consumed broccoli powder for two weeks, it helped lower blood glucose levels and improved insulin sensitivity.
Broccoli also has prebiotic properties that encourage the growth of probiotics in our gut by feeding them. These probiotics then produce compounds that protect against inflammatory diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Summary:Research has shown that broccoli may help to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
7. Improves gut health
In addition to its health benefits, broccoli has also been shown to improve gut health by increasing beneficial bacteria in the gut. It’s also rich in soluble fiber, which helps support digestive health.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance in the stomach and small intestine (18). This helps slow down digestion so nutrients are absorbed more slowly into your bloodstream. Soluble fiber can be further broken down by bacteria in your colon into short-chain fatty acids that provide energy for colon cells (19) .
Summary:Eating broccoli has been shown to increase beneficial bacteria in the intestines, which can help promote gut health.
8. Prevents gum disease
Broccoli contains powerful compounds such as glucosinolates that may help prevent gum disease (20). Glucosinolates have been shown to block enzymes that promote inflammation, which is a major cause of gum disease. In addition, sulforaphane in broccoli also helps boost the body’s immune system so it can fight off gum disease and infection.
The vegetable also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease. Regular consumption of broccoli can help prevent dental plaque formation and reduce inflammation in the gums caused by plaque buildup.
Summary:Broccoli contains compounds like glucosinolates and sulforaphane, both of which have been shown to prevent gum disease and plaque formation.
9. Boost brain function
Broccoli may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a brain food, but this cruciferous vegetable is loaded with nutrients that can improve your cognitive function and prevent memory loss.
Broccoli contains several vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy brain function, including vitamin C and folate. The antioxidants found in broccoli also protect your brain from free radicals that damage cells.
A study found that giving older adults broccoli for 12 weeks improved their memory, learning ability and attention span by as much as 30 percent.
The researchers concluded that the sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts may be responsible for these improvements. It’s because this compound is known to increase levels of the proteins in the body that protects cells from oxidative stress. Another study found that sulforaphane from broccoli sprouts also improved sleep quality in adults with mild cognitive impairment.
Summary:Need another fun fact about sulforaphane in broccoli? It may help boost the brain by improving cognitive function and preventing memory loss.
10. Improves heart health
Broccoli is high in fiber, folate, vitamins C and K as well as other B vitamins. These nutrients all help protect your heart. Broccoli is also a good source of potassium and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which can reduce high blood pressure.
Studies show that broccoli may help prevent heart disease by lowering your cholesterol levels and reducing your risk of stroke. Sulforaphane also helps protect against damage to blood vessels caused by free radicals, which can lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Sulforaphane has been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body, which is important because inflammation contributes to many chronic conditions including heart disease.
Broccoli may even help lower cholesterol levels by blocking the absorption of cholesterol from food in the small intestine. One cup of steamed broccoli contains about 30 milligrams of calcium and 6 grams of fiber. These are both important nutrients for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
Summary:Studies show that consuming broccoli may help to promote heart health. Certain nutrients in broccoli have been shown to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of stroke.
If you’re looking for a quick way to add more vegetables to your diet, consider adding broccoli to soups or salads instead of sauces or cheese. Or try boiling some broccoli florets with garlic and olive oil for a simple side dish that tastes great with grilled chicken or fish.
Broccoli is a superfood that has been around for centuries. It’s been said that the ancient Romans and Greeks first introduced broccoli to the world, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that it became popular in Europe.
If you want to start eating broccoli, just remind yourself of all the benefits it has. If you’re looking for a healthier diet, then consider the number of vitamins this humble vegetable provides.
It’s one of the healthiest things you can eat. Broccoli is delicious, and there are plenty of ways to prepare it so that you can enjoy eating it every day. If you’re looking to get your daily broccoli in, make it a habit of adding one or two servings per week. You’ll thank yourself with more energy and focus, better nutrient absorption, and fewer wrinkles later on in life!