Your mother was right: you’ll eat your broccoli if you know what’s good for you. Broccoli is one of the most nutritious foods you could possibly choose to eat.
Vitamins and Minerals Powerhouse
The cruciferous vegetable is an absolute powerhouse of vitamins and minerals—just one cup of broccoli contains the recommended daily amount of vitamin C needed to prevent colds, repair muscle tissue, and protect against heart disease. Broccoli’s beta-carotene, zinc, and selenium provide additional immune support. Your bones and brain will also benefit from broccoli: one serving of broccoli is packed with as much calcium as is found in a glass of milk—enough to help to keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis. In addition, the potassium contained in broccoli is necessary if you want your brain and nervous system to function optimally. If these benefits weren’t enough, broccoli also contains a carotenoid called lutein, which helps to prevent both macular degeneration and thickening arteries. Meanwhile, the vitamin B6 also found in broccoli benefits your reduces your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
The beauty Factor
Broccoli can even provide you with a beauty boost, as the antioxidant it contains (glucoraphanin) helps to protect, detox, and repair your skin after free radical exposure. With its high fiber content, broccoli also aids in digestion, stabilizes blood sugar, and curbs over-eating—it can even help you with your weight loss goals!
Need some more?
Still not convinced of broccoli’s superfood status? The selenium found in broccoli helps to ward off not only colds, but cancer too. In fact, broccoli is one of the most effective foods in the fight against cancer. Sulforaphane—found abundantly in broccoli—reduces your risk of cancer by drastically increasing the activation of certain detoxifying enzymes in the liver. Broccoli even fights existing cancers: sulforaphane has the power to selectively target and destroy cancer cells while leaving normal cells entirely intact. Studies have shown that the cancerous tumors of those who eat diets high in sulforaphane grow significantly more slowly than the tumors of those who had no sulforaphane in their diets. Broccoli is so powerful in the fight against cancer that you don’t even need to eat that much of it to notice its powerful effects—a few sprouts per day is enough. Emily Ho, associate professor of Exercise Science at Ohio State University, calls the compound found in broccoli “one of the strongest cancer fighters we have.”
Consuming a full serving of broccoli at least two or three times per week is guaranteed to improve your overall health. Try to choose fresh broccoli instead of frozen whenever possible, as broccoli’s sulforaphane-forming enzymes can be destroyed during the freezing process. Overcooking your broccoli also can destroy these enzymes, but this doesn’t mean you have to eat it raw. If you prefer your broccoli cooked, steam it for no more than four minutes in order to ensure that you enjoy all of its nutritious benefits in full.