We’re all told as children that we need to eat our vegetables. But despite this friendly warning, many of us avoid broccoli well into adulthood. It’s time to stop!
Broccoli is one of the best vegetables you can eat regularly, both for general health and for the treatment of certain issues. Let’s take a look at broccoli’s nutritional facts and the health benefits it may be able to help with now.
Broccoli Basics – How Nutritious Is Broccoli?
Broccoli is incredibly nutritious and has hardly any calories, making it a great choice as a staple vegetable in any of your major meals. In fact, a single cup only has 31 cal.
One cup of broccoli also includes:
- 2.5 g of protein
- 6 g of carbs
- 1.5 g of sugar
- 2.4 g of fiber
- 0.4 g of fat
Of these, the carbs in broccoli are primarily various sugars and fiber. But broccoli has a surprising amount of protein, with about 29% of its dry weight being made up of the stuff. While broccoli alone isn’t a food that can hit all of your nutritional requirements, it’s a well-rounded vegetable overall.
What Vitamins Does Broccoli Provide?
Many nutritionists will also recommend broccoli due to its exceptional vitamin content, which includes:
- Vitamin C, one of the most important antioxidants
- Vitamin K1, which is crucial for good bone health
- Vitamin B9 or folate, which is important for regular cell function and tissue growth
- Iron, a mineral that your red blood cells need to transport oxygen
- Potassium, a mineral that’s important for blood pressure control
- Manganese, a mineral that’s needed in small amounts throughout your body
Any Other Good Stuff?
Alongside all of these excellent contents, broccoli also has various nutritious plant compounds and antioxidants that help to provide its many health benefits. These include compounds like:
- Sulforaphane, which may help to prevent the spread of certain types of cancer
- Carotenoids, which include the well-known compound beta-carotene. All of these can potentially help eye health
- Quercetin, which is an antioxidant spec and lowers your blood pressure if you already have high blood pressure
- Kaempferol, another antioxidant that can protect against issues like heart disease
All in all, it’s clear why broccoli has such a sterling reputation among nutritionists. It’s one of the best vegetables you can eat, so be sure to make it a staple part of your evening meals, or prioritize taking greens powder supplements that contain the same compounds and minerals.
Dr. Livingood’s Daily Greens supplement is a great example, providing many of the same vitamins and nutrients as a full cup of broccoli.
Broccoli’s Health Benefits
Of course, broccoli’s vitamin and mineral content are only excellent because of the health benefits they impart. Here are just a few of the main health boosts broccoli can help you experience.
Broccoli is one of the best vegetables you can eat regularly if you want to lower your cholesterol. Your body’s cholesterol is necessary so you can digest fat and other compounds, but if your cholesterol levels are too high, it could lead to side effects.
Broccoli contains many substances that can bind with bile acids already forming in your gut. This may prevent your body from producing too much cholesterol. Lower cholesterol will, in turn, help to lower the risk for heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Reduced Bodily Inflammation
Since broccoli is chock-full of different helpful bioactive compounds, it might even provide some assistance reducing inflammation throughout your body. For instance, kaempferol – the aforementioned plant compound – has very strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation of various tissues can lead to skin irritation and other health risks.
Lots of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are important compounds that can reduce the risk of free radical molecular damage, which can cause tissue or cellular damage and interrupt various bodily processes. The more antioxidants flowing throughout your blood, the healthier you likely are. Broccoli has plenty of these, so it’s an excellent pick for reducing symptoms like skin irritation or high blood sugar.
Better Heart Health
It’s well-known that cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in America. Fortunately, broccoli can help to improve your heart health by reducing the risk for certain cardiovascular issues, such as by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and lowering triglyceride levels throughout the body.
In simpler terms, broccoli can lower your risk of suffering from a heart attack both due to the above effects and because of its high antioxidant content.
Since broccoli has a lot of fiber (as do many other green vegetables), it may also be able to help with digestion. Fiber is necessary to make sure that your digestive system passes waste correctly, so eating more of it can relieve constipation and other digestive issues.
Furthermore, broccoli can improve your gut microbiome: the collection of helpful bacteria that help your body to break down certain food items and that make it difficult for harmful bacteria to take up space in your colon. By bolstering your microbiome, you’ll likely feel better when eating healthily and will experience fewer digestive issues in the long run.
All in all, broccoli is one of the best vegetables to add to your diet if you aren’t already eating enough of it. Make it enjoyable to eat by baking your broccoli or adding some flavorful spices and you’ll learn to love this versatile, effective vegetable that can provide so many wonderful health benefits.
Check out our broccoli recipes today to get started eating healthier and benefitting from broccoli!