Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Health Benefits Of Broccoli


The health benefits of broccoli along with the easy availability of this super vegetable make it one of our most popular vegetables.

Throughout the year, broccoli is one of the easiest foods to locate, as most supermarkets across the United States offer a hearty supply of the nutrient-rich vegetable.

While broccoli has gotten a bad reputation as being one of the most dreaded vegetables on the dinner plate for a child, there are actually many different delicious ways to prepare the vegetable with the alluring green stalk and bushy top.

In addition to satisfying the daily requirements for fruit and vegetable intake, there are a variety of health benefits attached to the consumption of broccoli.

Health Benefits of Broccoli

  • Cancer: Broccoli may prove to be a natural wonder-drug for many types of cancer, including breast cancer, cancer of uterus, prostrate cancer, cancers of internal organs like lungs, colon, liver, kidneys etc. and cancer of intestines. But it is particularly good for breast cancer and uterus cancer, as it removes extra estrogen from the body. This is due to the presence of strong anti-carcinogens like glucoraphanin, diindolylmethane, beta-carotene, selenium and other nutrients like vitamin-C, vitamin-A and vitamin-E, zinc, potassium and certain amino acids, which are also good anti-cancer agents.
  • Detoxification: The presence of vitamin-C, sulphur and certain amino acids make broccoli a very good detoxifier. It helps remove free radicals and toxins like uric acid from the body, thereby purifying blood and keeping away problems related with toxins such as boils, itches, rashes, gout, arthritis, rheumatism, renal calculi, skin diseases like eczema and hardening of skin etc.
  • Stomach Disorders: Broccoli is very rich in fiber or roughage, the best thing which can cure almost all the stomach disorders by curing constipation, since constipation is the root to almost all the stomach disorders. The fiber forms the bulk of the food, retains water and forms the bowels. The magnesium and the vitamins present in the broccoli also cure acidity, facilitate proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food and soothe the stomach by reducing inflammation.
  • Skin Care: The credit for keeping your skin glowing and young goes to expert anti-oxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin-C and other helpers like vitamin B complex, vitamin E (the one that gives shine to your skin, hair etc. and revives skin tissues), vitamin A & K, omega 3 fatty acids (adds glamour), amino acids and folate present in the broccoli. They take very good care of your skin.
  • Heart Diseases: Apart from the anti-oxidants mentioned above, broccoli has very high fiber content, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins which help reduce bad cholesterol as well as keep the heart functioning properly by regulating the blood-pressure.
  • Eye Care & Cataract: Primarily Zeaxanthin and then Beta-carotene, vitamin A, phosphorus and other vitamins such as Bcomplex, C and E present in Broccoli are very good for ocular health. These substances protect eyes against Macular degeneration, cataract and repair damages from UV radiations.
  • Immunity: The substances responsible for green and purple color of broccoli, vitamin C, beta-carotene and other vitamins and minerals, particularly selenium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, etc., present in broccoli are really great immune-strengtheners. They protect you from numerous infections.
  • Bone Health: Being very rich in calcium (present by 47 mg. per 100 grams) and other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and phosphorus, eating broccoli is very beneficial particularly for children, old people and pregnant ladies or lactating mothers, because these people are most prone to osteoporosis, weakening of bones, teeth, etc., and deficiency of calcium.
  • Pregnancy: Since broccoli is so nutritious and full of nutrients essential for pregnant ladies, such as proteins, calcium, vitamins, anti-oxidants, detoxifiers, iron, phosphorus and others, it is an ideal component of diet for them. Being rich in fiber, this will also keep away constipation which is very common during pregnancy.
  • High Blood Pressure: An important mineral, chromium, found abundantly in broccoli, helps in proper functioning of insulin and regulates blood sugar, thereby regulating blood pressure also. Vitamins, which make all our systems function properly and found in abundance in broccoli, along with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, helps regulate blood pressure.
  • Anemia: Anemia is directly related to lack of iron and certain proteins. Broccoli is rich in both of these and hence forms an excellent remedy for anemia. Eat them and blush.
  • Other Benefits: Now, let’s have a look at all the nutrients present in broccoli. They are carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin A, B complex, C and E, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, potassium, manganese, glucoraphanin, diindolylmethane, zeaxanthin, water and roughage.

Cooking With Broccoli

While it may take some a bit of time to get used to eating raw broccoli, the use of French onion, ranch, or other dips help bring broccoli to life.

My personal favorite is to shread the broccoli stems and make broccoli slaw. Just use your favorite cole slaw recipe and substitute the broccoli for cabbage.

Some people avoid eating the stems of the vegetable, but peeling away the tough outer skin, slicing then into small pieces, or cooking them whole tastes great with a little teriyaki sauce. Overall, to get the health benefits of broccoli, it can be boiled, steamed, eaten raw, and baked with great-tasting accompaniments, such as a good tasting creamy cheese.

Broccoli also decorates casseroles, rice dishes, and is an excellent addition to a salad.

This versatile vegetable is also used to make delicious soups, including the Broccoli Cheese and Cream of Broccoli options commonly served at high end restaurants.

When preparing the vegetable, it is important to remember that overcooking broccoli equals a reduction in vital nutrients (especially when boiling in water). To savor every last drop of vitamins and healthy components, you should try steaming, microwaving, or preparing broccoli in a tasty stir-fry.

Also, the next time you're shopping for vegetables, note that some broccoli tops appear purplier than others, meaning they possess a higher level of carotenoids, which is better for your health.

The health benefits of broccoli are so great that it is one of those foods that should be a regular addition to your menu.

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