BROCCOLI - Wealth of Nutrients

Broccoli can aid in heart health by keeping the blood vessels strong. The sulphur compound in it is an anti-inflammatory and may be able to prevent or reverse the damage to blood vessels.

Broccoli, a green vegetable with a large flowered head usually dark green in colour and a thick light green stalk,   contains a wealth of nutrients and antioxidants that support many aspects of human health.  The stalk contains the most fiber and flower head is high in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals like vitamin C, vitamin K, B complex, potassium, magnesium, fiber and sulphur containing compounds. As a fat free vegetable with low content of sodium and calories, keep the broccoli in the category of super food.
1.    Good for Heart

Broccoli can aid in heart health by helping to keep the blood vessels strong. The sulphur compound in it is an anti-inflammatory and may be able to prevent or reverse the damage to blood vessels. The B complex in broccoli can help regulate excessive  homocysteine in the blood vessels. Broccoli can help lower bad cholesterol due to its fiber content. So consuming steamed broccoli regularly,  is good for heart.
2.    Eye Health
Broccoli is a rich source of carotenoids viz lutein and zeaxanthin. Both these compounds are good for eye health by reducing the risk of age related eye disorders like cataract and macular degeneration.
3.    Prevents Cancer
A key component of broccoli is a phytochemical known as sulforaphane which gives broccoli a slight bitter taste. It is helpful in reducing the risk of cancer.
4.    As an Antioxidant
Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize cell damage caused by the free radicals. Broccoli is rich in potent antioxidants which offer multiple benefits in preventing the development of chronic diseases.
5.    Aids Blood Sugar Control
Eating broccoli may support better blood sugar control in diabetic patients due to high fiber content and richness of antioxidants.
6.    Supports Immune System
Vitamin C is the most essential nutrient for maintaining the function of immune system. Broccoli is a rich source of  vitamin C and thus its intake improves immune system.
7.    Promotes Healthy Bones
Nutrients like vitamin K and calcium in broccoli are known to support healthy and strong bones and may prevent bone related disorders.
8.    Keeps the Brain Healthy
Bioactive compounds in broccoli may support healthy brain function and resist mental decline associated with aging.
9.    Detoxification
Three types of photochemicals in broccoli aid all steps of the body's detoxification from activation to neutralization and elimination of contaminants. This unique combination of chemicals make it a unique food in terms of cancer prevention.
10.    Prevents Constipation
Eating fiber rich food plays a good role in normal function of gut. Broccoli is rich in fiber. So people who consume broccoli in their diet have regular bowels.
Best Way of Taking Broccoli
Boiling broccoli can undermine its cancer fighting enzymes. Raw broccoli maintains all its nutrients but it may irritate the bowels. So the best method of taking broccoli is steaming for retaining its important components.
Some nutrients like vitamin C can be lost once broccoli has been cut. So it is best to use cut broccoli within a couple of days.
Broccoli is on top of the health benefits as it enhances our health in many ways like reducing bad cholesterol, keeping our heart and gut strong and providing antioxidants to keep our immune system active. Including this premier vegetable in diet will definitely enrich our health.
Associate Professor, Department of Agad Tantra, Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar.
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