Broccoli gets a bad rap for being something your parents may have had to force feed you as a kid. But this veggie is a nutritional powerhouse and even though the most popular variety is green, it even comes in different colors!
Eating more broccoli means getting more nutrients. Doing so even can remedy certain health conditions and prevent disease. Here are seven reasons you should include more broccoli in your diet today!
1. Contains an Incredible Mix of Nutrients
For only 55 calories per serving, broccoli packs a powerful nutrient punch. Just one serving contains nearly 20 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. It provides over 200 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C, which gives your immune system a serious boost. Broccoli even contains over four grams of protein per serving, making it a great choice for vegans and vegetarians.
2. It Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
Broccoli is high in fiber, meaning it keeps you feeling fuller longer. The high fiber content also makes the metabolism break down glucose more slowly, meaning less rapid shifts in blood sugar. Broccoli also has a low glycemic index, and it contains few carbs, making it a popular vegetable for those who have diabetes in helping them manage their disease. For those who have developed insulin resistance, eating more broccoli while cutting refined carbs may aid in weight loss.
3. It Prevents Tummy Trouble
The phytonutrients in broccoli as well as the fiber content help to prevent tummy trouble. While some people do have difficulty digesting raw cruciferous vegetables, cooking the florets breaks down the raffinose, the sugar responsible for belly bloat. This does break down the fiber, but who can turn down steamed broccoli smothered in a cheddar or vegan cheese sauce?
4. It Strengthens Teeth
Crunching on broccoli acts as a natural toothbrush — the hardiness of the veggie scrapes sugar and bacteria from teeth surfaces where they can cause decay. Broccoli also contains calcium as well as vitamins and minerals, making it especially friendly for children’s teeth.
5. It Supports Brain Function
Broccoli contains vitamin K, choline and magnesium, all critical nutrients for proper brain function. Choline in broccoli helps people perform better on memory tests and may help stave off dementia. Vitamin K regulates the amount of calcium in the brain and may alleviate pain in migraine sufferers, but because it is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it is not excreted in the urine, getting it from natural sources prevents overdose. And magnesium helps boost serotonin levels and bust depression naturally.
6. It Protects Your Skin from the Sun
Free radicals from unprotected sun exposure cause oxidation, leading to cell damage and death. Broccoli is chock-full of antioxidants which help fight the damaging effects of free radicals on your skin. Adding more broccoli to your diet could help you fight off premature aging and, potentially, even skin cancer.
7. It May Even Stave Off Cancer
Way back in the day, the late, great comedian George Carlin attested he was not afraid of cancer as everyone knows, broccoli fights the disease. Guess what? The brilliant comic nailed it.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane which kills cancer stem cells, slowing tumor growth. Sulforaphane also inhibits HDAC enzymes, which prevent body cells from suppressing tumor development. Sulforaphane can activate over 200 cancer-fighting genes in the human body.
Eat Your Broccoli — Yes, Even If You’re All Grown Up
No doubt your parents drilled the importance of eating your broccoli and other veggies into you as a child. They had your best interests at heart, though. Once you add more of this delicious cruciferous superfood into your life, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel!