Broccoli, or “little trees” as you probably called them as a child, is one of the most rejected foods on many plates, including adults. I seemingly recall staring at the green forest in front of me while vigorously shaking my head “no, no, no” until Mom added cheese on top. Since broccoli is one of the top health foods, it is also quickly despised by those who are sick of healthy foods being shoved in their faces. It’s time to re-visit the world of green goodness.
Broccoli has a lot to offer, both in the nutrients locked inside each green floret and in the flavors you can coax out of this relative to cabbage and cauliflower. Don’t give in to those negative feelings for this common super-food. It’s worth exploring!
- Cancer – Broccoli reduces inflammation and oxidative stress while aiding natural detox. Antioxidants like indole-3-carbinol protect against cellular damage that causes many cancers. Broccoli also contains glucoraphanin which is converted into sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that kills bacteria known to increase cancer risks. It also reduces damage from the sun, removes toxins, and regulates the methylation of DNA.
- Cholesterol – The soluble fiber in broccoli binds to and removes cholesterol during digestion, especially when lightly steamed.
- Detoxify – Glucosinolate phytonutrients, like glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin, and glucobrassicin found in broccoli, help detox at the genetic level on up.
- Balance Vitamin D – The vitamin K and vitamin A in broccoli help control the levels and effects of vitamin D throughout the body.
- Anti-Inflammatory – The flavonol kaempferol reduces inflammation, combats allergies, improves heart health, and may even combat some cancers. Broccoli also contains some beneficial omega 3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation too.
- Antioxidant – The antioxidant powers of broccoli deserve another mention since they help the body resist much more than cancer. Vitamin C and carotenoids like zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta carotene are plentiful in our friendly broccoli florets.
- Heart – Sulforaphane reduces the inflammation of blood vessels and prevents or reverses the damage to the linings of these vital vessels. Lutein prevents the thickening of the arteries while B6 and folate help control heart palpitations.
- Blood Pressure – The sulforaphane, potassium, calcium, and magnesium in broccoli all aid healthy and balanced blood pressure.
- Digestion – Broccoli is low in calories while rich in protein and minerals to keep you full and satisfied while your cells are well-nourished. The fiber aids digestion and prevents constipation too.
- Bones – Broccoli is rich in vitamin K and calcium for strong, young, healthy bones.
- Nerves – The potassium, healthy fatty acids, and B vitamins in broccoli are good for the nervous system, keeping those signals firing and our nerve cells healthy.
- Immunity – The sulfur compounds in cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli bolster the immune system and inhibit bacteria. Vitamin C, beta carotene, and the trace minerals zinc and selenium all play a role in immune system health too.
- Alkalize – The nutrients and minerals in broccoli can help alkalize your system.
- Arthritis – Sulforaphane prevents cartilage destruction and acts as a mild pain-killer by reducing inflammation.
- Blood Sugar – The fiber and chromium in broccoli aid in balancing blood sugar.
- Skin Health – Sulforaphane prevents and repairs damage done to the skin by the sun, healthy fats keep skin supple and inflammation free, and vitamin C builds healthy collagen.
Broccoli is at its best as sprouts or micro-greens, but it is still healthy steamed or lightly cooked. It is also more delicious than it gets credit for. You can search and find some amazing broccoli recipes and taste-test them for yourself.