Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family, which also includes arugula, cauliflower, collards, bok choy, kale, mustard greens, radish, turnips, watercress, and brussels sprouts.
Broccoli is considered a good source of nutrients because it is rich in vitamin C, carotenoids (vitamin A-like substances), fiber, calcium, and folate. While the calcium content of one serving doesn’t equal that of a glass of milk, broccoli is an important calcium source for those who don’t consume dairy products. Broccoli is also a source of many substances called phytochemicals, or plant chemicals, that may have anticancer properties.
Broccoli and Cancer: Broccoli contains certain chemicals that may reduce the risk of colorectal or other cancers. The phytonutrients present in broccoli called glucosinolates produce isothiocyanates when they are broken down in chewing and digestion. Isothiocyanates work at the molecular level to eradicate carcinogenic compounds from your cells. These carcinogens may come from pollutants in air or water, pesticides, tobacco smoke, food products or other sources. Epidemiological evidence suggests that eating raw broccoli may decrease your risk of developing cancer from exposure to these toxins.
Broccoli and Weight Loss: Broccoli provide a lot of nutrition for very few calories. Broccoli has only 23 calories per half-cup serving and is fat free and sodium free. It is a very nutritious vegetable for weight watchers and can be incorporated in the form of soups, salads, and saute vegetables.
Broccoli and Nervous System: Broccoli contains a high amount of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, as well as promotes regular muscle growth.
Broccoli and Blood Pressure: Along with a high amount of potassium, Broccoli also contains magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure.
Broccoli and Vitamin C: One cup of broccoli contains the RDA of vitamin C, an antioxidant necessary for fighting against free radicals. Moreover, vitamin C is an effective antihistamine for easing the discomfort of the common cold.
Broccoli and Bone health: Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.