Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family and supplies many nutrients for very few calories. Sometimes we underestimate just how beneficial to our diet this simple vegetable is. If you are trying to eat healthier, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli should be at the very top of your grocery list. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like broccoli decreases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Studies have suggested that sulforaphane, the sulfur-containing compound that gives broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite, is also what gives them their cancer-fighting power. Broccoli also contains folate which has been found to decrease the risk of breast cancer in women.
Poor vitamin K intake is linked with a higher risk of bone fracture and by just having 100g chopped raw broccoli you are provided with about 85% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin K. Vitamin K can also improve bone health by improving calcium absorption and reducing the urinary excretion of calcium. By eating 100g chopped raw broccoli you are also contributing to your daily calcium needs.
Broccoli is an exceptionally rich source of vitamin-C, providing about 150% of your daily need per 100g. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant which can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture and can also act immune modulator helping to fight against flu-causing viruses.
Broccoli also contains good amounts of another anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-A. Together with other pro-vitamins like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and zeaxanthin, vitamin-A helps in maintaining the integrity of skin and mucosa. This is an essential vitamin for healthy eyesight and helps prevent macular degeneration of the retina in the older adults.
Eating foods with a natural fibre like broccoli can maintain a healthy digestive tract, and lower the risks of developing colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and certain gastrointestinal diseases. High intakes of fibre have also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
As you can see this is a powerful vegetable, so treat it gently don’t overlook it or much of its nutrient power will decrease. Raw or steamed broccoli is a better option, add uncooked broccoli florets to your salads, or lightly steam them and drizzling with olive oil. Sauté chopped broccoli drizzled with olive oil, cracked black pepper, and minced garlic. Chop raw broccoli and add it to a wrap or sandwich. Top your pizza with chopped broccoli before roasting.