If you are serious about living a healthy lifestyle full of energy and vitality, you simply have to eat broccoli, if not on a daily basis, then at least 4 times per week.
Broccoli has been proven over and over and over again to be incredibly powerful in inhibiting cancers, supporting the digestive system, the cardiovascular system, the detoxification processes in the body and also supporting the skin, metabolism, immune system, being an anti-inflammatory and providing ample antioxidants.
The health benefits of broccoli are extensive, as this vegetable is loaded with essential nutrients, and therapeutic properties. Broccoli’s nutritional profile is impressive, as it contains high levels of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and is a rich source of vitamin C.
Just a 100 gram serving of broccoli will provide you with more than 150% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which in large enough doses, can shorten the duration of the common cold. Broccoli is also rich in vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and plenty of phyto-nutrients.
Phytonutrients are compounds in plants that are responsible for color, smell and flavor. They boost the immune system and lower the risk of developing illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
Broccoli plant compounds can also detoxify air pollutants in the body, as research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, found through a recent study. Participants from one of the most polluted regions in China who consumed half a cup of broccoli sprout beverage, were shown to excrete high levels of benzene and acrolein – a known human carcinogen and lung irritant.
Probably the most publicized health benefit of broccoli is its ability to help prevent cancer. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and all vegetables in this group are found to be protective against some stomach and intestinal cancer. Eat broccoli regularly as a part of your healthy lifestyle, can reduce the chance of developing bladder cancer by around 40%, according to experts at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, USA.
The American Cancer Society notes broccoli’s isothiocyanates, including sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. These chemicals act as antioxidants and boost detoxifying enzymes to reduce oxidative stress. They also can affect estrogen levels, to help reduce breast cancer risk.
Antioxidants are chemicals produced by the body or found in fruits, vegetables and grains. They can neutralize free radicals that are molecules that cause cell damage, and this cell damage can cause cancer according to the National Cancer Institute.
Protects Skin From The Effects of UV Light
Broccoli helps prevent skin cancer, but not by eating it, by applying it directly to the skin! An article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the damaging effects of UV (ultraviolet) radiation can be reduced with the topical application of broccoli extract.
Phytocheimcals glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin make up quite a terrific trio in broccoli. Together, they aid all steps of the body’s detoxification process, from activation to neutralization and elimination of contaminants. A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that the sprouts of broccoli can be especially potent with this process.
Broccoli is a great anti-inflammatory that helps slow down the damage to joints associated with osteoarthritis. A 2013 study at the University of East Anglia found that broccoli’s sulforaphane is very beneficial to people suffering from arthritis because this chemical blocks enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation.
Broccoli’s isothiocyanates and omega-3 fatty acids also help to regulate inflammation. A 2010 study suggested that the flavonoid kaempferol lessens the impact of allergens, especially in the intestinal tract, which can reduce chronic inflammation.
Broccoli helps lower cholesterol because the soluble fiber binds with the cholesterol in the blood, this makes the cholesterol easier to excrete, and consequently lessens cholesterol levels in the body.
In addition to reducing cholesterol, broccoli aids heart health by helping to keep blood vessels strong. The sulforaphane in broccoli is also an anti-inflammatory and is able to prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings caused by chronic blood sugar issues.
Excess homocysteine, which is an amino acid that builds up after a person eats red meat, increases the risk of coronary artery disease. Broccoli’s B-complex vitamins help to regulate or reduce excessive homocysteine, according to the Harvard University School of Public Health.
You’ve probably heard that carrots are good for your eyes, and that’s because they contain lutein, a compound antioxidant that’s excellent for eye health, and broccoli is also a great way to get it.
Another antioxidant in broccoli called zeaxanthin is similarly beneficial. Both chemicals help protect against macular degeneration, an incurable condition that blurs central vision, and cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens.
Broccoli’s digestive benefits come primarily from the high fiber content. Broccoli has nearly 1 gram of fiber per 10 calories. Fiber helps keep you regular and helps maintain healthy bacteria levels in the intestines.
Broccoli also aids in digestion by helping to keep your stomach lining healthy. The sulforaphane in broccoli helps keep the stomach bacteria from becoming overgrown or clinging too strongly to the stomach wall. A 2009 Johns Hopkins study on mice found that broccoli sprouts are especially good at helping in this way. Mice that were fed broccoli sprouts daily for two months reduced the levels of H. pylori in their stools by more than 40%.
Eaten steamed or raw, Broccoli is hugely alkaline. Put it in salads, juices, smoothies, soups, or steamed with other veggies, don’t let a meal go past without thinking to yourself “how could I get some broccoli in here?”
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