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15 Health Benefits Of The World’s Most Hated Vegetable
Almost everyone likes fruits and vegetables, but let’s face it: Everyone has different tastes. What tastes great to one person may seem terribly bitter or just plain nasty tasting to another. It has to be said, however, that there are some veggies that just seem to turn a majority of people off. Broccoli must be one of the world’s most hated vegetables. Children, especially, seem to deplore the taste and texture. Most adults learn to tolerate, if not love, broccoli, if they are exposed to it enough. Even President Bush (senior) said that he hated broccoli more than any other vegetable.
The funny thing is that the same year that the President said how much he hated broccoli, John Hopkins University published a study showing that broccoli could prevent the development of cancerous tumors by 60 percent, and reduce their size by 75 percent! That alone is a pretty good reason to learn to like broccoli if you are one of those who find it distasteful.
Many times, it’s simply a matter of finding out how you like broccoli cooked (or not cooked!). Some people simply cannot eat broccoli unless they put some butter or cheese on top. Others find that their broccoli tastes best when steamed. Still others only like it crispy and raw. When you consider all the health benefits that broccoli has to offer you, if it isn’t your favorite veggie, you should find a way to enjoy it that works for you.
If you are already a broccoli lover, you can take pride in reading about all the ways that your favorite veggie is helping your body and mind.
Keep reading for the top 15 ways broccoli can improve your health.
1. Natural Detoxifier
Special phytonutrients called glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin, and gluconasturtiian all support the body’s natural detoxification process, including the neutralization and elimination of contaminants and toxins. These three phytonutrients are all found in broccoli! Broccoli also contains isothiocyanates, which control the detox process right down to the genetic level. If you want to detox a bit every day, it makes perfect sense to add broccoli to your diet.
2. Fights Arthritis
One of the main substances in broccoli is sulphoraphane. This is a sulfur compound that blocks the destructive enzymes that damage the cartilage in our joints. Making broccoli a regular part of your diet can help to prevent, or at the very least slow down the progression, of osteoarthritis. You will read more about the other things that sulphoraphane can do later.
3. Healthy Bones
With high amounts of both calcium and the vitamin K that the body needs to make new, healthy bone tissue and prevent osteoporosis, broccoli is the perfect vegetable to help keep your teeth and bones strong and dense.
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4. Lowers Blood Pressure & Improves Kidney Function
That compound sulphoraphane that we talked about earlier can help both lower your blood pressure and improve the function of the kidneys. One study involving rats with hypertension and poor kidney function showed that when these animals were given a sulphoraphane extract, they all had dramatic improvement in their kidney function as well as a significant lowering of their blood pressure. Never stop taking any medication that you might be taking until you speak with your doctor.
5. Immune Support
Although broccoli might not be your favorite food, you might be surprised to find that out of all the cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli is the star when it comes to vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital to the support of a healthy immune system. Broccoli also has other outstanding antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and other powerful antioxidants that fight the free radicals that can cause damage to our body on a cellular level.
6. High in Folate
Although broccoli is high in numerous antioxidants and vitamins, we want to make a special mention about folate. Consuming sufficient amounts of folate has been shown in studies to offer protection from numerous types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer.
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7. Reduces Allergic Reactions
This green veggie is a rich source of kaempferol, a natural anti-inflammatory that research has shown can lessen the impact of allergens. Broccoli even contains omega-3 fatty acids, another well-known anti-inflammatory that can lessen allergic reactions such as sneezing, watery eyes, and runny noses.
8. Reduces Cholesterol Levels
In the same way that many fruits and vegetables provide essential elements, broccoli also contains soluble fiber, which helps to sweep cholesterol away from the blood naturally.
9. Alkalizes the Body
Broccoli, like many other vegetables, stops the body from becoming an acidic environment. When the natural pH of your body is unbalanced, it can lead to numerous health issues, including stroke, a weakened immune system, a depletion of vital minerals, and high blood pressure. Also, it has been shown in several studies that cancer cells cannot live in an alkaline environment.
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10. Cancer Protection
Speaking of cancer, broccoli can offer you some of the most powerful protection from all different types of cancer. Sulphoraphane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables and gives broccoli that slightly bitter taste, gives broccoli its cancer-fighting abilities. Sulphoraphane inhibits an enzyme known to allow cancer cells to grow and multiply. Broccoli also contains compounds called isothiocyanates, which scientists believe block the mutant genes that grow to become cancerous cells. The glucoraphanin in broccoli rids the body of the bacterium H. pylori, which is known to greatly increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.
11. Helps Manage Weight
Broccoli makes sense if you are trying to lose a few pounds. Low in calories, yet high in fiber, broccoli can help to fill you up but not fill you out! This veggie can take up room in your stomach, making you feel full, but not weighing you down with a bunch of heavy carbs or calories. The three things to look for in foods when you want to lose weight are water, protein, and fiber. Broccoli has an abundance of all three!
12. Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Broccoli is a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a natural anti-inflammatory. Eating more broccoli can help to reduce your risk of developing numerous chronic health conditions that are all related to inflammation, including arthritis and Alzheimer’s.
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13. Heart Healthy
By lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, broccoli is the perfect food for keeping the old ticker in good working order. Also, the kaempferol in this veggie has also been shown in numerous studies to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
14. Fights Damage Caused By Diabetes
Diabetes is hard on the body. Although eating broccoli won’t stop diabetes, the sulforaphane in this veggie can help to counteract some of the damage that it does to the body, especially to the heart and blood vessels. Sulforaphane encourages the body to make more enzymes that protect the blood vessels from damage.
15. High In Fiber
Although no one wants to talk about it, poop happens. Or sometimes, it doesn’t happen, which is a big problem. You can correct most problems, such as diarrhea or constipation, by eating more fiber-rich foods such as broccoli. The soluble fiber in broccoli can help to maintain a proper blood sugar balance as well as aid in digestion.
Unless this is the only way you can stomach broccoli, avoid overcooking it as you will leave behind most of the health benefits. Lightly steamed or raw is the best way to eat broccoli, and if you enjoy natural, organic butter on it, go ahead!
Your mom was right! Broccoli is your friend!