13 Broccoli Nutrition Facts And Health Benefits
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. It is closely related to cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale. As greener as it is, the vegetable is equally nutritious. It is a rich source of fiber, vitamins, potassium, and iron.
The are three types of broccoli available in the market. They are sprouting broccoli, calabrese broccoli, and purple cauliflower. You can have this veggie in any way you like. You can have it raw, cooked, steamed, or fried. However, most of the nutrients of the vegetable can be gained on gentle steaming. Here's what you need to know all about broccoli including its nutritional composition, benefits and some recipes.
Broccoli Nutrition Facts
This green veggie is less in calories and full of water with almost no fat. It has huge nutritional value that has various health benefits to offer. Broccoli is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and bioactive compounds.
Raw and cooked broccoli have different nutritional values. While steamed broccoli has more nutritional value, no matter how you wish to consume it, it is an excellent source of vitamin C. Loaded with a wide array of nutrients, here are some nutritional facts regarding a cup (90 g) of broccoli has:
- Protein: 2.31 g
- Fiber: 2.16 g
- Vitamin C: 82.2 mg
- Selenium: 1.44 µg
- Phosphorus: 60.3 mg
- Potassium: 273 mg
- Fat: 0.3 g
- Vitamin A: 7.2 µg
- Vitamin K: 91.8 µg
- Folate (Vitamin B9): 58.5 µg
- Carbs: 5.64 g
- Water: 81 g
- Calcium: 41.4 mg
- Magnesium: 18.9 mg
- Choline: 16.8 mg
- Beta Carotene: 83.7 µg
Not limited to these nutrients, broccoli is packed with plant compounds such as sulforaphane, kaempferol, quercetin, and other carotenoids.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
This cruciferous vegetable has some amazing health benefits to offer. A powerhouse of nutrients, it helps prevent/fight various diseases such as cancer. Let's explore the benefits of having broccoli.
1. Promotes Digestion and Reduces Constipation
We all know that high-fiber foods help in healthy digestion. As discussed above, broccoli are high in fiber and antioxidants. These support a healthy bowel movement and keep the digestive system on track.
Healthy bowel function is a must to prevent any health issues. According to research, having broccoli promotes bowel regularity and feeds healthy gut bacteria. This helps keep digestive health intact. Consumption of broccoli makes it easy to defecate because of its high fiber content. Nonetheless, be mindful of moderate consumption as excess consumption may lead to health hazards.
2. Supports A Healthy Immune System
We have been learning that vitamin C is an important nutrient essential for a strong immune system. And, without any doubt, one of the rich vitamin C foods is broccoli.
Building a healthy immune system is essential to fight against various diseases. For a complex immune system of the human body, various nutrients are essential for proper functioning. Vitamin C is a top nutrient that helps keep the immune system healthy and broccoli is loaded with it. Research says daily consumption of 100 to 200 mg of vitamin C is enough to prevent infections.
3. Prevents Cancer
The main cause of the cancer is the growth of abnormal cells which leads to oxidative stress. Worry not, broccoli has anti-cancer properties. According to studies, having cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli helps prevent various types of cancer. Even though one food does not make you cancer-free, moderate consumption of a list of foods can be rays of hope to prevent cancer.
A plant compound called isothiocyanates is present in broccoli that inhibits the growth of cancerous cells. It is better to consume broccoli fresh rather than having its supplements to gain the nutrients essential to the body.
4. Lowers 'Bad' Cholesterol
Not all cholesterol is bad. Yes, it needs to be managed if on the higher side. But having few amounts of it is not dangerous as cholesterol is essential to help you digest fat.
Rich in soluble fiber, broccoli helps deal with high cholesterol. Broccoli is loaded with various nutrients along with Sulforaphane. This compound helps in reducing triglyceride levels. Cholesterol helps in the formation of bile acid that is released to the digestive system when we consume fat. According to research, substances in broccoli mix up with the bile acid and increase the excretion, preventing them from being re-used.
5. Aids Vision Health
Green vegetables are always good for health. Either the leafy green vegetables or the florets, they can do wonders for your eye health. Broccoli has carotenoids namely lutein and zeaxanthin. These help decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration that can impair vision.
Moreover, a lack of vitamin A in the body leads to night blindness. Broccoli has beta carotene that our body converts into vitamin A. This covers the deficiency of vitamin A and boosts eyesight. Nonetheless, it needs to be paired with other vitamin A-rich foods like broccoli.
6. For Strong Dental and Oral Health
When young or even as you age, you wish to have strong teeth, don't you? To give a wide smile for the photograph and to chew foods for easy digestion, strong teeth are essential. Broccoli is a good source of nutrients essential for oral health that help prevent dental disease.
Nutrients such as vitamin C and calcium are essential to decrease the risk of periodontal disease. And, broccoli is a rich source of vitamin C and calcium. Broccoli has kaempferol, a compound that helps prevent periodontitis. Furthermore, sulforaphane in broccoli helps reduce the risk of oral cancer. Not just that, having raw broccoli helps get rid of plaque and whitens the teeth.
7. Promotes Healthy Bones and Joints
We know that intake of calcium-rich foods strengthens our bones and promotes healthy joints. The best news, broccoli is a good source of calcium and vitamin K. These are the vital nutrients essential for healthy and strong bones.
Not just vitamin K and calcium, broccoli has zinc, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C that assist in having strong bones. According to initial research, having broccoli also helps prevent osteoarthritis. When one vegetable can help you have strong bones, why not include it on a diet?
8. Helps Control Blood Sugar
Consumption of broccoli is miraculous to diabetic patients too. It can do wonders for those with type 1 diabetes. Being a good source of antioxidants, broccoli helps protect against damage caused by diabetes.
Another good reason for which the diabetic patient can have broccoli is because they are low glycemic food. Meaning, the consumption of broccoli does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels. With this, it helps regulate blood sugar levels. Moreover, broccoli is a fiber-rich food that helps control appetite and keep blood sugar levels at par. Daily intake of broccoli has beneficial effects on blood sugar levels.
9. Supports Heart Health
The heart is an organ that needs to be healthy for the healthy functioning of the body. According to studies, antioxidants in broccoli are associated with maintaining a healthy heart, reducing the risk of heart attack.
A plant-based compound, sulforaphane helps reduce inflammation in the body. It helps prevent the buildup of plaque in arteries. Not just that, broccoli is a rich source of fiber that helps in digestion and is crucial in lowering cholesterol. Also, broccoli has high amounts of calcium which is essential in foods that lower blood pressure. Lowered cholesterol, and maintained blood pressure ultimately aid in a healthy heart.
10. Supports Brain Health
In addition to being a low-calorie food, broccoli is a rich source of dietary fiber. Along with fiber, broccoli is packed with various nutrients essential for the body. Especially, broccoli is rich in compounds known as glucosinolates.
The body breaks down these compounds and produces isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates help reduce oxidative stress and keep the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, etc. at bay. Similarly, broccoli is rich in vitamin C and flavonoids that help boost brain health. Dark green vegetables such as broccoli are brain foods that help resist age-related mental decline and improve brain functions.
11. Protects Skin
With climate change, ozone layer depletion has become a major concern. The damaged ozone layer has led to increased exposure to harmful UV rays. This leads to the risk of skin cancer and is in a rising state. In such conditions, having foods that are good for the skin such as broccoli protects against UV radiation damage that leads to skin cancer.
The bioactive compounds in broccoli have protective effects on skin damage and inhibit the growth of cancer development cells after the exposure to sun. Applying sunscreen, and lotion is essential to protect the skin from harmful UV radiation. However, consumption of broccoli can also protect the skin and prevent skin cancer.
12. Aids In Hydration
Water is essential to keep the cells and organs healthy. Staying hydrated regulates the body temperature and prevents constipation. A cup of broccoli (90 g) has 81 grams of water.
When our body receives enough water, it provides lubrication to the joints, helps move food through the digestive tract, and has other benefits as mentioned above. Not just the water to the body, but broccoli adds volume to the diet too. High in fiber, broccoli keeps you full and satisfied, reducing the urge to snack. This ultimately leads to healthy weight management.
13. Fights Inflammation
In addition to the benefits as discussed above, broccoli helps fight inflammation too. It has the anti-inflammatory power that reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
Different compounds available in broccoli work in synergy and reduce inflammation in the body's tissues. Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli help lower the pro-inflammatory markers in the blood. Broccoli has a flavonoid, Kaempferol that has strong anti-inflammatory capacity. This specific benefit of broccoli helps prevent the risk of chronic disease.
Different Ways To Include Broccoli In Your Diet
There are various ways to have broccoli and reap the health benefits. You can eat it raw, steam it, have it as a salad, or air fry it. You can mix broccoli with any other food and enhance its taste. You can add broccoli to your diet easily by preparing it in different ways as follows:
1. Toss the broccoli on pasta with a simple sauce of garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes.
2. Saute the broccoli with a clove of garlic and dried red chili flakes.
3. You can melt the broccoli and make a spread for the toast.
4. You can make a broccoli casserole by combining it with rice, shitake mushrooms, and cheddar cheese.
5. You can make a broccoli crescent ring and share it with the crowd.
Apart from these, you can add broccoli to your diet as you wish and gain the health benefits discussed above.
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