Anti-Cancer Foods: Broccoli Uses & Benefits

Did you know that Italian immigrants introduced broccoli to America for the first time in the 1800s? However, it did not become popular until the 1920s. It may not be the tastiest food in your kitchen, but broccoli boasts a wealth of health-boosting benefits worth exploring in more detail.

What Is Broccoli?

Broccoli (also called Brassica oleracea var. italica) is a cruciferous vegetable similar to cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. Its huge flower head, stem, and accompanying little leaves are all eaten as vegetables. Broccoli comes in three varieties: Calabrese, commonly known as "broccoli," sprouting broccoli, and lastly purple or violet cauliflower.

What Are The Uses Of Broccoli?

This green vegetable can be eaten raw. However, briefly blanching it in boiling water renders it crisp-tender and intensifies its flavor. Additionally, broccoli can be roasted, steamed, and sautéed. You could even grill long spears! According to a recent study, gentle steaming has the greatest health benefits. In addition, the plant's above-ground parts can help in making medicine.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Broccoli?

Broccoli is a superfood that is low in calories but high in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants, providing various health benefits. It lowers LDL cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of diabetes, improves cardiovascular health, and prevents cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Here are some of the top health benefits associated with eating broccoli:

Boosts Immunity:

Broccoli is rich in Vitamin C, which helps build the immune system and fight off infection.

Improves Digestion:

Broccoli is an excellent fiber source that can help keep the digestive system running smoothly and reduce symptoms of bloating or constipation.

Promotes Heart Health:

Eating broccoli regularly has been linked with lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, which are essential factors in promoting heart health. The antioxidants found in broccoli can also help to prevent damage to blood vessels, reducing the risk of stroke or heart attack. Moreover, broccoli is also a great source of folate, essential for a healthy pregnancy.

What Makes Broccoli An Anti-Cancer Food?

There are many compounds in broccoli that are known to prevent cancer. According to observational studies, eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may lower your chance of developing various cancers, including breast, gastric, lung, prostate, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer. Moreover, cruciferous vegetables contain a special class of plant compounds known as isothiocyanatesare which distinguishes them from other vegetables. Isothiocyanates may help inhibit cancer growth, lower oxidative stress, lower inflammation, and boost the immune system. Although there are broccoli supplements available, they might not provide the same amount of isothiocyanates and, as a result, might not offer the same benefits as consuming fresh broccoli.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19083431/
Health Benefits
  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19083431/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23110644/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21899805/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16723441/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6085992
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21428901/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22992251/
Anticancer
  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18000267/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17317210/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8877066/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16227704/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19061536/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23978168/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18458837/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21928849/
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