Why You Should Make Broccoli a Mainstay in Your Diet

Raw broccoli in a bowl on rustic background

Broccoli has grown popular in recent years – and not in a good way. The media is partly to blame. After all, broccoli is shown over and over in movies as the “gross-looking” mini tree that parents put on their kids’ plates and children push to the side or off their plates! It has become the mascot of vegetables! Sadly, because of this negative exposure, very few children give broccoli a chance.

Let’s get to know broccoli a little better.

Broccoli is a part of the cruciferous vegetable family, along with cauliflower, kale, cabbage, collard greens, and more. This powerhouse group offers an overload of nutrients for very few calories. So if you want to eat healthier, broccoli and its cousins should be included in your grocery list. If your kids are scared or unwilling to eat broccoli, you can look up various recipes where you can incorporate broccoli without them noticing it!

Here are some of the many benefits of eating broccoli:

Improves Bone Health

Low level of vitamin K is linked to a high risk of bone fracture. Well, did you know that just a cup of broccoli already provides you with 92 micrograms of vitamin K? That’s more than the 100 percent of your daily vitamin K need! Broccoli can improve your bone health by improving calcium absorption and minimizing urinary excretion of calcium.

Fights Cancer

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can be consumed in high amounts to lower your risk of developing cancer, in particular, colon and lung cancer. According to studies, sulforaphane, which is the compound that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter taste, also gives them their power against cancer. Sulforaphane helps inhibit histone deacetylase which is an enzyme known to be involved in cancer cell growth and progression. Sulforaphane is presently being studied for its ability to stop or at least delay cancer.

Improves Digestion

Consuming foods high in natural fiber like broccoli can help you prevent constipation. It aids in keeping a healthy digestive tract, which is important if you want to lower your risk of colon cancer. It is also crucial for regular excretion of toxins.

Protects from Chronic Disease

High fiber intake also lowers risks of developing hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and various gastrointestinal diseases. Broccoli can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss for people suffering from obesity.

Broccoli ranks among the top 20 foods based on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index or ANDI score. This measures mineral, vitamin, and phytonutrient content in relation to caloric content.  A cup of broccoli provides you with more than 100% of your daily need for vitamins K and C. It is also an excellent source of folate, potassium, and vitamin A.

Unfortunately, because broccoli is among the least favourite vegetables of many, a lot of people miss out on its benefits. You shouldn’t! Chop it up and add it to your pesto or pasta sauce, your pizza, or your wrap!

If you want to learn more about broccoli’s benefits, as well as some natural ways to achieve optimal health, visit Sloan Natural Health Center!