Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and is closely related to cauliflower. Its cultivation originated in Italy. Broccolo, its Italian name, means ‘cabbage sprout.’ Because of its different components, broccoli provides a range of tastes and textures, from soft and flowery (the floret) to fibrous and crunchy (the stem and stalk). Do not let the smell of the sulfur compounds that are released while cooking keep you away from this highly nutritious vegetable.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
- Cancer: Broccoli may prove to be a natural wonder-drug for many types of cancer, including breast cancer, cancer of uterus, prostrate cancer, cancers of internal organs like lungs, colon, liver, kidneys etc. and cancer of intestines. But it is particularly good for breast cancer and uterus cancer, as it removes extra estrogen from the body. This is due to the presence of strong anti-carcinogens like glucoraphanin, diindolylmethane, beta-carotene, selenium and other nutrients like vitamin-C, vitamin-A and vitamin-E, zinc, potassium and certain amino acids, which are also good anti-cancer agents.
- Detoxification: The presence of vitamin-C, sulphur and certain amino acids make broccoli a very good detoxifier. It helps remove free radicals and toxins like uric acid from the body, thereby purifying blood and keeping away problems related with toxins such as boils, itches, rashes, gout, arthritis, rheumatism, renal calculi, skin diseases like eczema and hardening of skin etc.
- Stomach Disorders: Broccoli is very rich in fiber or roughage, the best thing which can cure almost all the stomach disorders by curing constipation, since constipation is the root to almost all the stomach disorders. The fiber forms the bulk of the food, retains water and forms the bowels. The magnesium and the vitamins present in the broccoli also cure acidity, facilitate proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food and soothe the stomach by reducing inflammation.
- Skin Care: The credit for keeping your skin glowing and young goes to expert anti-oxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin-C and other helpers like vitamin B complex, vitamin E (the one that gives shine to your skin, hair etc. and revives skin tissues), vitamin A & K, omega 3 fatty acids (adds glamour), amino acids and folate present in the broccoli. They take very good care of your skin.
- Heart Diseases: Apart from the anti-oxidants mentioned above, broccoli has very high fiber content, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins which help reduce bad cholesterol as well as keep the heart functioning properly by regulating the blood-pressure.
- Eye Care & Cataract: Primarily Zeaxanthin and then Beta-carotene, vitamin A, phosphorus and other vitamins such as Bcomplex, C and E present in Broccoli are very good for ocular health. These substances protect eyes against Macular degeneration, cataract and repair damages from UV radiations.
- Immunity: The substances responsible for green and purple color of broccoli, vitamin C, beta-carotene and other vitamins and minerals, particularly selenium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, etc., present in broccoli are really great immune-strengtheners. They protect you from numerous infections.
- Bone Health: Being very rich in calcium (present by 47 mg. per 100 grams) and other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and phosphorus, eating broccoli is very beneficial particularly for children, old people and pregnant ladies or lactating mothers, because these people are most prone to osteoporosis, weakening of bones, teeth, etc., and deficiency of calcium.
- Pregnancy: Since broccoli is so nutritious and full of nutrients essential for pregnant ladies, such as proteins, calcium, vitamins, anti-oxidants, detoxifiers, iron, phosphorus and others, it is an ideal component of diet for them. Being rich in fiber, this will also keep away constipation which is very common during pregnancy.
- High Blood Pressure: An important mineral, chromium, found abundantly in broccoli, helps in proper functioning of insulin and regulates blood sugar, thereby regulating blood pressure also. Vitamins, which make all our systems function properly and found in abundance in broccoli, along with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, helps regulate blood pressure.
- Anemia: Anemia is directly related to lack of iron and certain proteins. Broccoli is rich in both of these and hence forms an excellent remedy for anemia. Eat them and blush.
- Other Benefits: Now, let’s have a look at all the nutrients present in broccoli. They are carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin A, B complex, C and E, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, potassium, manganese, glucoraphanin, diindolylmethane, zeaxanthin, water and roughage.