The health benefits of broccoli lie in the abundant antioxidants,
vitamins, phytonutrients, and fiber it provides. This relative of
cabbage gets its name from ancient Romans who thought it looked like a
miniature tree and hence called it "brachium", which, in Latin, means
Broccoli is a rich source of vitamin C (containing more of this vitamin
than an orange) and beta carotene, and is a good source of vitamin A.
These vitamins and carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin in
broccoli act as antioxidants
that protect cells from damage, reducing
the risk of age-related degenerative diseases like cataract and heart
disease, as well as several types of cancer including breast and lung
A 2008 study conducted at University of Warwick showed that broccoli
can undo the damage caused by diabetes
to heart blood vessels. The
phytochemical sulforaphane that broccoli contains helps produce enzymes
that reduce tissue damage caused by high blood sugar.
Sulforaphane also has strong anti-cancer properties, and has been found
to be effective in reducing the risk of prostate and colon cancers.
Researchers at Oregon State University discovered that broccoli
(the tiny, thread-like sprouts sold in stores next to alfalfa sprouts)
have 50 times the sulforaphane found in the regular mature broccoli.
According to these researchers, if you're at risk of cancer, increase
your intake of broccoli and broccoli sprouts.
Studies show that sulforaphane may also help against respiratory
conditions like asthma
and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This
chemical has also been found to kill the ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori bacterium
Studies show that broccoli contains high concentrations of compounds
which prevent cancer. Researchers at Ohio State
University found that 2 or more 1/2-cup servings of broccoli can lower
the incidence of bladder cancer by almost 44 percent, and they
attributed this to the glucosinolates.
Broccoli is very beneficial for heart health.
Broccoli's heart-healthy effects have been attributed to its high
concentrations of a protein call thioredoxin that has been shown to
prevent the muscle damage caused when the heart is deprived of oxygen.
Broccoli is also very low in calorie; so if you're on a weight-loss
diet, it's good to include this vegetable along with physical exercise,
whether yoga, or something fun like the masala bhangra workout.
Broccoli is a powerhouse of
nutrients for good health. To derive the maximum health benefits from
broccoli, eat it raw, steamed,
stir-fried or cooked in the microwave. Boiling it seems to damage its