Health Benefits of Brocolli
One study showed that eating brocolli about two servings a day of crucifers may result in as much as a 50 percent reduction in the risk for certain types of cancers. While all crucifers seem to be effective in fighting cancer, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts seem to be the most powerful. Just ½ cup of broccoli a day protects from a number of cancers, particularly cancers of the lung, stomach, colon, and rectum. No wonder broccoli is number one on the National Cancer Institute’s list of nutrition all stars.
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin K Eating broccoli or its sidekicks is like getting a natural dose of chemoprevention.
Uses of Brocolli
- Broccoli and its related crucifers are rich in folate, the B vitamin that is essential to preventing birth defects. Neural tube defects like spina bifida have been linked to folic acid deficiency in pregnancy. A single cup of raw, chopped broccoli provides more than 50 milligrams of folate (the plant form of folic acid).
- Folate also is active in helping to remove homocysteine from the circulatory system; high levels of homocysteine are associated with cardiovascular disease. Folate also plays a role in cancer prevention. Interestingly, folic acid deficiency may be the most common vitamin deficiency in the world.
- Broccoli is rich in the powerful phytochemical carotenoid antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (as well as vitamin C). Both of these carotenoids are concentrated in the lens and retina of the eye.
- A single cup of raw, chopped broccoli provides 1.5 milligrams of lutein and Zeaxanthin—8 percent of the Super Foods RX goal of 12 milligrams daily.
- One study found that people who ate broccoli more than twice weekly had a 23 percent lower risk of cataracts when compared to these who ate broccoli less than once a month. Lutein/zeaxanthin and vitamin C also serve to protect the eyes from the free-radical damage done to the eyes by ultraviolet light.
- Broccoli and cruciferous vegetables are bone builders. Once cup of raw broccoli provides 41 milligrams of calcium along with 79 milligrams of vitamin C, which promotes the absorption of calcium.
- While this is not a huge amount of calcium, it’s at a low cost of calories and with the benefit of the many other nutrients in broccoli. Whole milk and other full-fat dairy products, long touted as the main sources of calcium, contain no vitamin C and are often loaded with saturated fat and many more calories than the 25 in 1 cup of raw, chopped broccoli. Broccoli also supplies a significant portion of vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting, and also contributes to bone health.
- Broccoli is a great source of the flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C, folate, and potassium that help prevent heart disease. It also provides generous amounts of fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin B6, which promote cardiovascular health. Broccoli is one of the few vegetables, along with spinach, that are relatively high in coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a fat-soluble antioxidant that is a major contributor to the production of energy in our bodies. At least in people with diagnosed heart disease, may play a cardioprotective role.