The Benefits of Broccoli is my first intentional post using the theme, ‘the benefits of’, due to the fact that after review, I have discovered that the most popular page on the Fit Apprentice Diet is the benefits of deadlifting with over 60,000 views.
Then I noticed that of the Top Ten Pages of all time, six were about the benefits of other specific topics like the benefits of deadlifting after 50 , the benefits of squats and the benefits of pushups.
While it is true that I initially began this site touting the benefits of deadlifts, squats, pushups and real food to get fit and fight depression, nevertheless, I think it is time to expand the list of activities and foods that pack the punch of great health benefits.
The purpose is to provide you with the information that can result in you achieving your own fitness goals, whatever your age and wherever you are on your current fitness journey. Some topics that I want to cover besides the health benefits of broccoli are the Benefits of:
Granted that in many posts on this site, I write about the negative consequences of processed food and processed carbohydrates, sugars, grains. I write about the dramatic changes that I experienced when eliminating those foods from my diet. However, I must also write about the benefits of all the great foods that I had to start consuming to replace all of the junk that I used to have.
When you eat enough healthy foods, your cravings for junk are going to decrease sharply. But you have to know what to eat, right? If you have grown up on chicken pot pie, frozen chicken dinner, snickers, Oreos and ice cream like I did, then you need some education, just like I do.
If you grew up thinking that peas and carrots grew in aluminum foil and that carrots are pre-formed little cubes, then you need more education just like me. Why have I chosen the benefits of broccoli to lead off what I hope to be a daily collection of the best benefits of series?
Frankly, because I absolutely hate broccoli. There, I said it. I would do anything not to eat broccoli. However, after experiencing broccoli’s health benefits for myself, feeling physically stronger and dramatically better digestion, I decided to start with the benefits of broccoli. What follows is an aggregation of the best health benefits of broccoli that I have found to date on the web.
I hope that this collection regarding broccoli benefits will be of great use for you and motivate you to make eating broccoli one of your daily healthy habits.
My comments are in quotes in this color.
10 Health Benefits of Broccoli
Some people love broccoli and some people hate it, but there’s no denying that broccoli is a nutrional wonder.
“I have always hated broccoli which is why I am beginning with the health benefits of broccoli! Sometimes we have to do what we fear most in order to make the most gains.”
Here are 10 reasons why broccoli should be an essential part of your diet.
1. 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.
I believe that there are some known broccoli benefits to building muscle, so I am not surprised to see that broccoli can promote a healthy nervous system.
Updated August 2017: My own anecdotal experience is that many months after I started to have larger quantities of vegetables than ever, my essential tremors reduced. If you are also over 50, you might have experienced those small tremors. Pretty much, my entire life was devoid of vegetables, except for some token ones here and there.
But, for the last 5 years, most of my meals are plant powered. Whole grain in the morning with fruit and nut butter, vegetables and beans like chickpeas in the afternoon and several different vegetables in the evening with fish or some other lean protein.
My wife is relieved to see that these tremors have stopped to the point that she no longer notices. Are you having enough vegetables every day? If you have essential tremor, think about it.
Believe it or not, there are accounts of people managing chronic autoimmune conditions like MS (multiple sclerosis) with the power of vegetables. If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic autoimmune conditions, be sure to check out the Wahls Protocol. Dr. Wahl testifies about her own experience in defeating MS.
2. Blood Pressure
Along with a high amount of potassium, Broccoli also contains magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure.
Before I upped my vegetable intake significantly, my blood pressure was creeping up. Like many of us over 50, I was moving into pre hypertension territory. My bp was in the 130 and 135 over 90 range. No matter how much I exercised. However, after many months of focusing on vegetables, both raw and cooked, the bp fell to normal after about four months. Would you rather eat broccoli or take blood pressure lowering medication? Pass the broccoli please!
3. 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.
Whenever I think of vitamin C, I think of oranges and orange juice. Who would have known that a cup of broccoli contains the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C! With winter fast approaching in New York City, anything that can prevent or ease the common cold is more than welcome, no matter how much I have disliked the taste of broccoli. I am trying to get used to it and have been having at least a cup if not two of sauteed broccoli every day for three days now.
4. Bone Health
Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.
Bring it on Broccoli, we need strong bones, especially as the years go by! I always thought milk for calcium, but I see a big benefit of broccoli for not only everything that we have mentioned so far, but for calcium as well.
5. Sun Damage
Broccoli is helpful in repairing skin damage thanks to the glucoraphanin it contains which helps the skin to detoxify and repair itself.
6. Immune System
One cup of broccoli bolsters the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene. Trace minerals, such as zinc and selenium, further act to strengthen immune defense actions.
Always thought carrots for beta-carotene. Another surprise from Broccoli.
7. Cancer Prevention
Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which with the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body of H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Furthermore, broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function.
Sounds miraculous to me. Broccoli not only has potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium, but even indole-3-carbinol to hinder the growth of cancer and improve liver function, and all you have to do is eat it and enjoy!
8. Diet Aid
Broccoli is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories.
I can attest to the benefits of broccoli for digestive health. High in fiber also, broccoli is rocking. On top of all of that, keeping blood sugar low and providing so much protein is amazing.
9. Eye Health
Studies have shown that the carotenoid lutein helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as possesses anti-cancer effects. Additionally, broccoli is a good source of vitamin A that is needed to form retinal, the light-absorbing molecule that is essential for both low-light and color vision.
Add to the mix the cartenoid lutein. Thank you mother earth and the power of nature that gives us broccoli. Is this a superfood or what? Do you think that we can get the same benefits of broccoli from a babe ruth bar or slice of bread?
10. Heart Health
The carotenoid lutein may also slow down or prevent the thickening of arteries in the human body, thus fighting against heart disease and stoke. The B6 and folate in broccoli also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
Another bonus benefit of broccoli, fighting heart disease and stroke. All in all, so far broccoli seems to be a mighty and powerful vegetable, a great weapon in the battle against obesity and a winning strategy to keep our fuel intake lean and green. Imagine the value of adding a cup of broccoli to your meal plan every day.
Here is another article written on the health benefits of broccoli:
15 Health Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli is a dark green leafy vegetable that belongs to Brassica, a plant family that includes kale, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. This vegetable was originated in Italy, where the name ‘broccoli’ is derived from the Italian word broccolo, meaning ‘branch’ and was first cultivated in the 17th or 18th century.
All new information, I had no idea that broccoli is related to kale, cabbage and cauliflower and originated in Italy.
Broccoli is one of the most popular vegetables all over the world that used in a variety of dishes and cuisines. This vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked, but the best ways are to steam or eat them raw as salad, because that preserves the nutrients in it. Broccoli has long been regarded as one of the superfoods that are packed with tremendous health benefits. The nutritional value of broccoli can be considered as the powerhouse of iron, protein, calcium, chromium, carbohydrates, vitamin A and vitamin C.
That is what we like to hear, a super food. If we spend time eating, doesn’t it make sense to eat super foods rather than super junk? When I first thought of eating real food, I was in the middle of a super junk day, blueberry muffins, ice cream, snickers, pizza, pasta, egg sandwich, and a soda.
I made a lot of progress by just eliminating some of the worst processed food offenders, now I want to see how adding more superfoods to the mix will affect my fitness. Based on everything that we are reading, eating Broccoli should definitely be part of our daily habits.
Update August 2017: When I first wrote this in 2014, I was holding between 185 and 205 for several years. Like many people struggling with obesity, I had my ups and downs. I had difficulty breaking the 180 barrier. However, when I finally started to focus more on vegetables, and increase cardio programming, I went down to a normal BMI fairly easily over three months, and have been stable at 172 – 175 lbs for many months.
Broccoli also contains important phytochemicals and antioxidants, which fight various illnesses and infections. Some of the proven health benefits of broccoli are as given below:
11. Anti-cancer properties
The American Cancer Society recommends eating more broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables because they contain phytochemicals – anti-cancer properties. Epidemiological studies suggest that a diet rich in broccoli can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer such as breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer.
All I can say to that is – Awesome!
12. Anti aging properties
Broccoli also has anti aging properties which can reverse the effect of the aging process.
13. Aid digestion
Broccoli is rich in fiber, which helps with digestion and works at dealing with or even preventing constipation.
I testify that is true and definitely drink to that!
14. Acts as detoxifier
The presence of vitamin C, sulfur and certain amino acids make broccoli a very good detoxifier. It helps eliminate free radicals and toxins like uric acid from the body.
Great, this is new information as well.
15. Control diabetes
Broccoli is rich in chromium, which is known to help regulate insulin and control diabetes.
We know that broccoli not only has potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium, but even indole-3-carbinol to hinder the growth of cancer and improve liver function, and now we know that an additional broccoli benefit is that broccoli is rich in chromium. I cannot wait to find out what my A1c marker is next time.
Update 2017: If your A1C level is high, try broccoli. After many months and years increasing vegetable intake, my last A1C level is now normal, no longer pre-diabetic. Not bad for 60!
16. Improve immune system
Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient which helps keep immune system in shape.
17. Maintain healthy eyesight
Research has suggested that the beta-carotene in broccoli can protect the eyes against macular degeneration and prevent cataract.
18. Protect against UV radiation
Researchers also have found that a compound called sulforaphane in broccoli may reduces the skin damage and inflammation caused by exposure to UV radiation.
19. Strengthen bone and Prevent osteoporosis
Being rich in calcium, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus, they help in maintaining bone strength and keeping the bone remain strong. Hence, eating broccoli is very beneficial for the elderly and pregnant women, because these people are more prone to osteoporosis.
20. Prevent anemia
Anemia is directly related to lack of iron. Iron and folic acid found in broccoli can help prevent iron-deficiency anemia.
Broccoli has iron too? Amazing!
21. Maintain a healthy pregnancy
Broccoli is a good source of folate which helps prevent neurological defects such as spina bifida in the fetus. All women need a regular source of folate during pregnancy.
22. Reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk
A study shown that a diet high in folate may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and broccoli is one of the foods that contain this substance.
This one is very real to me as my Aunt passed away from Alzheimers last year and it was devastating.
23. Lower cholesterol and high blood pressure
Broccoli is rich in cholesterol-reducing fiber, chromium, and potassium, which can help lower cholesterol levels and control blood pressure.
We will be able to get some very accurate reads on broccoli’s abilities to lower cholesterol in under a month! I am currently at 260 or 270, which is fairly normal for me for many years.
Update 2017: My cholesterol has tested most recently in 2017 at 160. That is the lowest I can remember in my life, and this is without stating. I cannot say this is all the effect of broccoli, but broccoli is certainly part of it. Because for close to a year I have been having broccoli at least 3 times a week. As well as many other vegetables, such as; asparagus, bok choy, cauliflower, mushrooms, watercress, okra, spinach, red/orange/yellow pepper, zucchini, corn on the cob, and sometimes brussel sprouts.
But, the main shift in my meal planning has been to ramp up vegetables. Many times, you have people who become vegetarians, but rarely have vegetables. I know, because I did that myself. As a vegetarian, I had a lot of soy chicken, soy burgers, bread, pasta, potatoes, processed foods that were not meat based.
Where were the vegetables? A slice of tomato and onion on a tofu avocado sandwich on whole wheat bread. So, my experience is that a person can be a vegetarian without eating many vegetables. The specific health habit that has helped me tremendously, is to focus on vegetables. Real fresh vegetables that you eat both raw and cooked. Try it out for a month and see how you feel.
24. Reduce heart disease risk
The carotenoid lutein found in broccoli may prevent the thickening of the arteries in the heart, thus reduce the risk of heart disease, particularly stroke.
25. Weight loss diet
Broccoli is extremely low in calorie content. Approximately 146 grams of broccoli contains less than 50 calories and therefore it is a good diet for people who’re looking for weight loss.
The Benefits of Broccoli for Building Muscle
The Benefits of Broccoli along with 14 other Muscle Building Foods from http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/15-surprising-muscle-building-foods.html
Just about any body building diet or meal plan you read will have broccoli on the menu. Here’s why:
26. Reduce Estrogen
High-volume, low-calorie foods like broccoli and cabbage are typically withheld from muscle-building diets as they can cause the early onset of satiety and fullness, which makes hitting a high-calorie target harder. But withholding broccoli and other vegetables that are members of the cruciferous family is a mistake, because they provide a hormonal advantage by reducing estrogen.
27. Clear Toxins from your Body
These kinds of vegetables, especially broccoli, contain several unique antioxidants and compounds that can help to improve your health in a variety of different ways, not limited to fighting cancer. Indole-3-carbinol and D-glucaric acid are two other nutrients found in cruciferous vegetables that aid in clearing excessive estrogen and toxins from your body.
28. Decrease Synthetic Estrogen
These compounds not only play a role in the binding and clearing of naturally occurring estrogen, they can also bind xenoestrogens—synthetic compounds that mimic estrogen. Indole-3- carbinol in particular can interact with the genes responsible for putting together estrogen receptors by either blocking their action or decreasing their effectiveness.
29. Maximize Muscle Building Goals by Minimizing the Negative Effects of Estrogen
The combination of these two unique compounds in broccoli works to clear excess and chemically similar estrogens while also impacting the ability of estrogen to work on target tissues. This allows you to minimize the negative effects of estrogen on your muscle-building goals. If you’re still worried about the satiating effects of broccoli, roast or steam it; this will remove some of the intra-vegetable water content, making it easier to eat and less filling.
If all the benefits of broccoli that we have so far brought to your attention has not motivated you to include at least a cup of broccoli in your diet today, what will? What is your experience with broccoli, weight loss and getting fit? Please share and/or comment, thank you!