It is always important to eat your green vegetables, and of all the green vegetables broccoli is one of the most nutritious and beneficial (bad news for broccoli haters out there). Broccoli is often cited in diet plans and health articles as a super food and rightfully so, as the benefits of broccoli are truly numerous. Broccoli is an antioxidant, a source of iron and stuffed full of vitamins and minerals used by the body in a number of ways.
1. Broccoli helps to prevent cancer
Broccoli contains phytonutrients and the chemical sulforaphane. These chemicals have been scientifically proven to prevent cancer and also to remove cancerous agents from the body, which helps prevent the cancer developing. These chemicals help to prevent damage caused to the DNA. Sulforaphane also helps to prevent leukaemia by killing cells in the body affected by the disease.
2. Broccoli is an antioxidant
Antioxidants, found in many foods that dieticians are dubbing ‘super foods’ help to protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are shown to cause damage to the cells of the body, by ‘bombarding’ the cell walls. This can lead to the visible signs of ageing, caused by damage to skin cells. Free radicals can also cause tumours to develop from the damaged cells when this damage makes it through to the DNA, in turn leading to cancer. The antioxidants naturally found in broccoli help to prevent this damage from occurring and this helps to ensure that you are not only healthy but also wrinkle free.
3. Broccoli contains vitamin C
It can come as a surprise that broccoli contains more vitamin C than an orange. Broccoli and green vegetables are stuffed full of vitamin C, a vitamin used by the body in many ways. One of the main uses of vitamin C is to develop collagen, a protein used by the body to build strong and healthy nails, hair, ligaments and tendons. Vitamin C helps to develop healthy skin and healthy teeth, and prevents damage caused to the body by over-exertion. Vitamin C also helps to increase testosterone levels in the body. Most famously however vitamin C is also an antioxidant and highly useful for the immune system helping us to stave off colds and other diseases and illnesses.
4. Broccoli contains calcium
Broccoli contains as much calcium as a glass of milk, a huge amount from just one source. Calcium is used by the body to build strong bones and teeth, ensuring that the body has a strong skeletal system. Maintaining a healthy level of calcium in the diet ensures that the body is less likely to develop conditions affecting the bones, such as osteoporosis. Calcium also has other numerous benefits, including use in developing healthy muscles, secreting hormones to be used throughout the body, ensuring that nerves signal healthily with one another, and maintenance of the heart.
5. Broccoli contains folate
Folate is a naturally occurring form of folic acid, which broccoli contains in abundance. Folic acid is used by the body to develop new cells and to maintain existing cells. Folic acid is also used for growth and sustenance particularly by women.
6. Broccoli is a source of iron
Iron is an important mineral used by the body. Iron is crucial for the transportation of oxygen around the body as it is the key component of the haemoglobin found in the red blood cells and through which oxygen bonds are transported around the body. Oxygen is used to provide energy for the muscles and organs of the body, allowing them to be maintained and to develop. Without iron, the energy levels of the body can drop and the muscles and organs can be adversely affected. Anaemia can also develop, and those with anaemia are frequently advised to eat green leafy vegetables such as broccoli.
7. Broccoli contains fibre
Fibre is a key nutrient that the body needs to ensure a healthy digestive system. Fibre passes through the blood vessels and the digestive tract undigested. Fibre is absorbed by the body into the blood system where it works through the veins and the arteries removing plaque and fatty deposits. Doing so, fibre decreases blood pressure and cholesterol levels throughout the circulatory system and also helps to ensure that the digestive system is healthy and that the body properly breaks down and uses the nutrients from food.
8. Broccoli is low in carbohydrates
Broccoli is naturally low in carbohydrates, containing around one gram of carbohydrates in every 100 grams of broccoli. Carbohydrates are used by the body for energy, but when not fully used can be deposited in the body as fat and lead to weight gain and cholesterol. A low carbohydrate diet can help to prevent this.
9. Broccoli is high in potassium
Broccoli is also high in potassium which helps along with the high calcium to maintain strong bones. Furthermore, potassium helps us to regulate our electrolyte balance which helps us to avoid getting cramp.