Introduction to Broccoli Benefits
Why a post about broccoli benefits?
If you grew up on chicken pot pie, frozen chicken dinners, snickers, Oreos and ice cream like I did, then you know why. We can all use some education about the magical powers of simple vegetables.
Generally I write about the amazing benefits of squats, deadlifts, pushups, and eating real food. And I also write about the negative consequences of processed foods, carbohydrates, sugars, and grains.
But in this post, I zero in on the greatest broccoli benefits for people like you and me.
Because you will experience dramatic changes by eliminating ultra-processed ‘foods' from your diet. And when you eat enough real food, your cravings for junk are going to decrease sharply.
But the question is, which foods do you eat to replace all of the junk?
Let's Start With the Ubiquitous Broccoli
Why have I chosen broccoli benefits to lead off? First, because broccoli is available everywhere all over the world. Broccoli is popular in America, Europe and Asia. And you can eat raw broccoli as well as cooked broccoli.
Just about any grocery store will have broccoli. If I told you how great watercress and bitter melon are, you might not find them so easily. But you can find broccoli everywhere. There is a reason that so many great natural powerlifters, fitness models and bodybuilders eat broccoli and lots of it.
Success leaves clues!
Second, because I absolutely hated broccoli. There, I said it. I would do anything not to eat broccoli.
However, after experiencing the health benefits of broccoli for myself, I am now a big broccoli fan. So I know that even if you hate broccoli today, you can also become a fan as well.
15 Super Health Benefits of Broccoli
What follows are some of the best broccoli benefits for you to lose weight and get fit, fast.
This collection of the greatest broccoli benefits will motivate you to make eating broccoli one of your daily healthy habits.
Whether you are trying to lose weight, reverse type 2 diabetes, look younger or build muscle, broccoli is for you!
“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 greatest gains.”
Here are 15 reasons broccoli will make you lean and strong faster than you think possible:
1. Nervous System
Broccoli contains a high amount of potassium, magnesium and Vitamin C.
- The potassium helps you maintain a healthy nervous system and brain function. In addition, potassium promotes muscle growth. And since muscle is your great friend, you will be happy about that. Read how deadlifts change your body if you don't know why muscle is your friend, especially when you are over 50.
- The magnesium and potassium in broccoli improves your blood flow.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that strengthens your blood vessels.((https://helloheart.com/broccoli-blood-pressure/))
Update December 2018: My anecdotal experience – the essential tremor in my hands reduced significantly after I started to have larger quantities of vegetables.
My entire life was devoid of vegetables, except for some token tomatoes here and there. But, for the last 5 years, most of my meals are plant powered.
Whole grain like old fashioned oats 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.
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. Normalize Your Blood Pressure
Broccoli magically also contains magnesium and calcium which help regulate blood pressure.
Before I upped my vegetable intake significantly, I had high blood pressure. Like many of us over 50, I was moving in hypertension territory. My blood pressure was in the 135 over 90 range. No matter how much I exercised.
However, after focusing on vegetables for about four months, both raw and cooked, the blood pressure fell to normal. Would you rather eat broccoli or take blood pressure lowering medication? Pass the broccoli please!
3. Lower cholesterol
Broccoli is rich in cholesterol-reducing fiber, chromium, and potassium, which can help lower cholesterol levels.
Update 2018: My cholesterol has tested most recently at 160. That is the lowest I can remember in my life, and this is without feared statins.
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 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, brussel sprouts and sometimes broccoli sprouts.
But, the main shift in my meal planning is to ramp up the vegetables.
Many times, people who are vegetarians, rarely eat vegetables.
I know, because I did that myself. As a vegetarian, I had a lot of soy chicken, soy burgers, bread, pasta, potatoes, and processed foods that were not meat based.
Where are the real vegetables?
A slice of tomato and onion on a tofu avocado sandwich on whole wheat bread is not enough vegetables. My experience is that you can be a vegetarian without eating even one green vegetable in a day.
The one 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.
4. Vitamin C
One cup of broccoli contains the Recommended Daily Amount of vitamin C. Free radicals tremble in their boots from Vitamin C. Moreover, vitamin C is an excellent way to prevent and treat the common cold.
Broccoli is also a very good detoxifier. Besides free radicals, it also eliminates toxins like uric acid from your body.
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 upon us in New York City, anything that can prevent or ease the common cold is more than welcome.
5. Bone Health
Broccoli also contains high levels of Vitamin K and calcium. These are both important to prevent prevent osteoporosis and maintain your bone health.
Bring it on Broccoli, we need strong bones, especially as the years go by! You always thought milk for calcium? Now you see the huge broccoli benefits for calcium and everything else we mentioned so far.
6. Sun Damage
Broccoli contains glucoraphanin which helps your skin repair itself.
Researchers also have found that a compound called sulforaphane in broccoli may reduces the skin damage and inflammation caused by exposure to UV radiation.((https://www.healthonlinezine.info/broccoli-health-benefits.html))
7. Immune System
One cup of broccoli strengthens your immune system with a big dose of beta-carotene. Other minerals, like Vitamin C, selenium and zinc bolster your immune profile as well.
You thought only carrots are good for beta-carotene? Another surprise from Broccoli.
8. Cancer Prevention
The glucoraphanin from broccoli is turned into an anti-cancer compound. This compound called sulforaphane eliminates bacteria which increases your risk of gastric cancer.
Furthermore, broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol, an antioxidant which slows the growth of prostate, cervical and breast cancers.
Broccoli is such a big celebrity that the American Cancer Society recommends eating more broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables because of its anticancer properties.
Is this not a miracle? Broccoli not only has potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium, but even indole-3-carbinol to prevent cancer and improve liver function, and all you have to do is eat it and enjoy! What pill has these spectacular broccoli benefits?
9. How Broccoli Benefits Weight Loss
Broccoli is high in fiber, which prevents constipation, curbs your appetite, and helps you maintain low blood sugar. In addition, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice with half the calories. A cup of broccoli has approximately 31 calories vs a cup of rice which will give you a whopping 200 calories.
I can attest to the benefits of eating broccoli for digestive health. High in fiber also, broccoli is rocking. On top of all of that, keeping your blood sugar low and providing so much protein is amazing.
10. Eye Health
Studies have shown that the carotenoid lutein prevents macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as possesses anti-cancer effects. Additionally, broccoli is a good source of vitamin A which you need to form retinal, the light-absorbing molecule that is critical for color and dim light vision.
Is broccoli a superfood or what? Do you think you can get the same benefits of broccoli from a babe ruth bar or slice of wonder bread?
11. Heart Health
The carotenoid lutein may also slow the thickening of arteries in the human body, thus fighting against stroke and heart disease. The B6 and folate in broccoli also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
All in all, broccoli is a mighty and powerful vegetable, a great weapon in the battle against obesity and a winning strategy to keep your fuel intake lean and green. Imagine the value of adding a cup of broccoli to your meal plan every day.
12. Control diabetes
Broccoli is rich in chromium, which is known to help regulate insulin and control diabetes.
If your A1C level is too high, try broccoli. After many months and years increasing vegetable intake, my A1C level is now normal, no longer pre-diabetic. Just about any body building diet or meal plan you read will have broccoli on the menu. Here's why:
13. Reduce Estrogen
Broccoli and other vegetables of the cruciferous family provide a hormonal advantage to building muscle by reducing estrogen. If you are a man, you want more testosterone, not estrogen.
14. Clear Toxins from your Body
Cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, brussel sprouts and broccoli, contain unique antioxidants like Indole-3-carbinol and glucaric acid. They sweep out excess estrogen from your body. How great is that?
15. Maximize Muscle Building Goals by Minimizing the Negative Effects of Estrogen
The combination of Indole-3 and glucaric acid clears out excess and synthetic estrogen from your body. This allows you to maximize building muscle.((https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/15-surprising-muscle-building-foods.html))
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?d
Broccoli. It's a cruciferous vegetable, along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale. Research has shown that eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer (14, 15). This may be related to the anti–inflammatory effects of the antioxidants they contain.((https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-anti-inflammatory-foods))
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 December 4, 2018: When I first wrote this in 2014, I had difficulty breaking the 205 barrier. However, when I finally started to focus more on vegetables, and increase cardio workouts, I went down to a normal BMI fairly easily over three months, and have been stable at 175 lbs till today in 2018.