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April 02, 2019
No super foods list is complete without broccoli. A member of the cruciferous vegetable family, broccoli is not only known for its cancer-preventing properties, it also packs the most nutritional punch out of any vegetable – vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, calcium, and fiber are just some of the nutrients it contains. Plus, broccoli can balance your body’s pH level, lower cholesterol, and keep certain cancers at bay. That’s more than enough reason to incorporate at least a cup into your daily diet, we reckon!
Below, the health benefits of broccoli are explained:
All metabolic processes, including immunity, depend on a delicately balanced pH. A balanced pH level, around 7.35 -7.45, is required to process essential nutrients and minerals. Cells need to be slightly alkaline to function properly. As viruses, bacteria, and diseases tend to thrive in a more acidic environment but struggle to survive in an alkaline environment, increasing our body’s alkalinity will help to fight off infections. Being a naturally alkaline food, broccoli helps to regulate the body’s pH levels and balance out the acidity in certain foods.
Broccoli contains carotenoids lutein, B6 and folate, which help prevent the risk of heart disease and stroke. Compounds found naturally in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can help prevent inflammation in certain “high risk” arterial areas by activating a naturally protective protein.
To enhance cholesterol-lowering benefits, try steaming your broccoli. The fiber-related components in broccoli do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they have been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, thereby lowering your cholesterol levels. Raw broccoli still has cholesterol-lowering ability – just not as much.
Broccoli is a rich source of vitamin C. In fact, just a 100-gram serving of broccoli will provide you with more than your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which in large doses can counter common colds, and reduce your risk of conditions such as cataracts, heart disease, and several cancers.
Broccoli is also high in sulforophane, a sulphur-containing antioxidant and anti-carcinogen present in cruciferous vegetables. Sulforophane has anti-cancer properties and may promote the elimination of potential carcinogens from the body. Studies suggest that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables may potentially reduce the risk of some cancers, such as stomach and lung cancers, and prevent the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancers. A serving of broccoli every day is said to reduce the risk of colon cancer by almost 50 percent!
However, if broccoli is overcooked it can undermine the beneficial effects of this enzyme, according to researchers at the University of Illinois. Therefore, lightly steamed broccoli is ideal.
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