Broccoli: Nutrition, Health Benefits, How to Eat
- Among common vegetables to include in your everyday food, broccoli is the must-have food in your diet.
- Reduced inflammation in the body is healthy, and eating broccoli is a good way to achieve that.
- Given the numerous broccoli benefits, it is well worth it to incorporate this vegetable into your diet.
Eating healthy is something you must strive towards if you aren’t already, and you’ll find that one of the best ways to do so is to add greens to your diet. This advice is common and even trained nutritionists will suggest that you do so to not only achieve your weight goals but also to promote better health. Among common vegetables to include in your everyday food, broccoli is almost always featured as a must-have for a balanced diet. If you’ve ever wondered, ‘What is broccoli?’, simply put, it is a cruciferous vegetable that is closely related to cabbage and is of the plant species known as Brassica oleracea. It is packed with nutrients, most of which are essentials, and very few other foods offer as much nutrition as broccoli does.
Broccoli Nutritional Value
Here is a quick overview of the broccoli nutritional value chart for 91g of broccoli, which is one cup of the vegetable.
- Carbohydrates: 6g
- Protein: 2.6g
- Fibre: 2.4g
- Fat: 0.3g
- Potassium: 8% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 6% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 116% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 135% of the RDI
What’s particularly interesting to note is that there is 135% of the reference daily intake (RDI) for vitamin C in one cup of broccoli. Meaning that broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C and by consuming it you can meet your daily requirement fairly easily. For more insight on this cruciferous vegetable, read on for a few science-backed broccoli benefits.
Why Include Broccoli in Your Diet?
Broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable that offers numerous health benefits. Including broccoli in your diet can help improve digestion, boost your immune system, and even protect your heart health. Additionally, broccoli is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate.
So why not add some broccoli to your next meal? You may be surprised at how much this humble vegetable can do for your health.
When it comes to maintaining a healthy immune system, the most important nutrient the body needs is vitamin C. As mentioned in the list of broccoli nutrition facts, broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C. In just half a cup, you get as much as 84% of the reference daily intake needed by the body. Of the many benefits, this helps keep common illnesses at bay and to add to that, it also reduces the duration of said illnesses should you get infected. In addition to this, vitamin C also detoxifies the body and can help reduce age-related macular degeneration.
Supports Heart Health
Heart diseases can develop due to elevated LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, a study found that powdered broccoli sprout supplement was effective in bringing down the number of triglycerides, reducing the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood, and increasing the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol. Another study found that the antioxidants in this vegetable may also contribute to reducing the risk of you having a heart attack. To top it all off, fibre-rich foods are associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and broccoli is one of these foods.Additional Read: Low Cholesterol Diet Plan
Aids Weight Loss
Owing to its low-calorie count and high fiber content, broccoli is actually deemed an effective weight-loss food. Fibre helps you feel full for longer, which can come in handy if you’re likely to overeat. Moreover, the antioxidants also help promote healthy digestive and bowel function, thereby reducing constipation as well.
Reduces Inflammation In The Body
Inflammation in the body can cause serious damage and lead to the development of lasting health conditions. Osteoarthritis is among these and causes damage to the joints due to inflammation. However, the isothiocyanates and omega-3 fatty acids in broccoli have been found to keep inflammation in check. Moreover, sulforaphane in broccoli was also found to help those with arthritis as it hinders joint destruction by stopping the cause of inflammation. All in all, reduced inflammation in the body is healthy, and eating broccoli is a good way to achieve that.
Protects Against Certain Cancers
As mentioned, the isothiocyanates in broccoli help regulate inflammation. This is needed as chronic inflammation alters the DNA, which can increase the risk of cancer. Moreover, the bioactive compounds in broccoli may also reduce cell damage, which helps protect against cancers like:
- Renal cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Gastric cancer
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
Keeps Blood Sugar In Check
Excess blood sugar levels are something you definitely want to avoid as it only leads to illness and disease. Diabetes is among these and keeping your blood sugar in check can be quite tricky. However, there are studies that suggest that the antioxidants and fibre in broccoli may work to this effect. One study found decreased insulin resistance in those with type 2 diabetes when they consumed broccoli sprouts for a month. Another animal study with broccoli extract found reduced blood sugar levels and lesser pancreatic cell damage in diabetic rats.
These, in addition to the research that links dietary fibre with improved diabetic control, testifies to the fact that eating broccoli regularly may be a good way to naturally maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Healthy Recipes For Broccoli
Assuming you have some broccoli on hand, here are three healthy recipes you can make using this versatile vegetable:
1. Roasted Broccoli
This simple recipe only requires a few ingredients and is a great way to add extra flavor to your broccoli.
2. Broccoli And Cheese Stuffed Shells
This recipe is a little more involved, but the result is worth it. The cheese and broccoli go together perfectly in these stuffed shells.
3. Broccoli And Quinoa Salad
This salad is an excellent option if you're looking for a light but filling meal. The broccoli and quinoa are a perfect match, and adding some dried cranberries and crumbled feta gives it a nice sweetness and creaminess.
If you're looking for some healthy recipe inspiration, here are a few favorites:
- Broccoli and quinoa salad
- Roasted broccoli and sweet potato soup
- Spaghetti with broccoli pesto
- Pizza with broccoli and chicken
- Broccoli and cheese stuffed shells
Whatever recipe you choose, you'll enjoy the delicious results!
Side Effects of Broccoli
The most common side effect of broccoli is gas or bloating. It is because broccoli contains a lot of fiber, which can be challenging to digest. If you're prone to gas or bloating, you may want to limit your intake of broccoli.
Broccoli can also cause constipation. It is because it contains a compound called raffinose, a type of sugar that is difficult to digest. If you're struggling with constipation, you may want to avoid broccoli or eat it in moderation.
In some rare cases, broccoli can also cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to broccoli include itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing. If you experience these symptoms after eating broccoli, seek medical attention immediately.
How to Eat Broccoli?
Given the numerous broccoli benefits listed above, it is well worth it to incorporate this vegetable into your diet. Learning how to eat broccoli and the many ways in which you can prepare it is a good first step to take as you don’t need to consume it simply boiled. There are many delicious and healthy recipes you can look up, which fit in with your health and weight goals. For instance, adding steamed broccoli in salads or slaw is a great way to consume it. You can also make grilled or roasted broccoli with other vegetables or create the base of a soup or pasta sauce with it. Of course, it also makes for a great topping in pizzas or in a sandwich; however, the way you cook the broccoli vegetable does have an effect on its nutritional value.
It is important to keep in mind that most methods, besides steaming it, cause it to lose out on some vitamin C, sugar, and soluble protein content. Given this fact, one of the best ways to eat broccoli is to steam the stalks and season it with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
However, despite the many benefits and uses of broccoli, it may not agree with everyone and so, before adding it to your meals, it is best to consult a specialist. With the best healthcare platform provided by Bajaj Finserv Health, getting in touch with nutritionists is not only easy but also quick and simple. You can find the best professionals in your locality or city and book appointments with them online. You can also consult with doctors virtually, over the video, and get remote care whenever needed. Not only this, you can track your vitals digitally and update your dietician regularly. This allows doctors to make tweaks to your diet plan more frequently and customise it based on how your body responds. Now get started for a healthier lifestyle!
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