The reasons to eat broccoli extend well beyond the following 10 reasons to eat it. It may be the number 1 food you may want to eat. Packed with fiber and nutrients, broccoli helps fight various types of cancer and can help with allergies and even slow the progression of arthritis .

Here are 10 reasons to eat more broccoli and why it should be on the menu tonight. If you don’t like the taste of it, hide it in your smoothie for breakfast in the morning or add it to your coleslaw or other dish for lunch in the morning, but find a way to get yourself a couple of servings of broccoli each week.

Broccoli reduces the risk of cancer

Eating this food (and other cruciferous vegetables) a couple of times a week can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, as well as other cancers like bladder cancer and colon cancer.

Researchers believe that substances in broccoli called isothiocyanate and glucoraphanin (a precursor to sulforaphane) cause hundreds of genetic changes that turn on some cancer-fighting genes and turn off other genes that are fuel for tumor growth.

Raw broccoli works best in the fight against cancer because when heated it destroys these cancer-fighting substances.

A great source of vitamins

Broccoli is rich in vitamins A and K. And these vitamins help the body absorb vitamin D , which is important for stronger bones and the prevention of many diseases such as cancer. You can’t talk about the vitamins in broccoli without noting that broccoli is especially high in vitamin C.

Just one cup of broccoli provides 135% of your daily vitamin C intake.

Broccoli is high in calcium

Speaking of bone health , in addition to helping you absorb vitamin D, broccoli is also high in dietary calcium . With age, people are at higher risk for osteoporosis, so foods with calcium are important.

Calcium is important for strong bones and is best received from food sources like broccoli. The minerals and micronutrients in broccoli and other dietary sources of calcium help with calcium metabolism and overall bone health.

Broccoli is good for the eyes

To protect your eyesight, try broccoli. An antioxidant found in broccoli can be a powerful force in preventing blindness.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that sulforaphane, the natural antioxidant in broccoli and broccoli sprouts, protects the eye from damage caused by ultraviolet sunlight.

Cells in the retina of the eye are extremely sensitive to damage caused by oxidants, especially those generated by light. While various processes within the eye help reduce that damage, the eye gradually loses that ability as we age.

This is believed to be the leading cause of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness, writes researcher Xiangqun Gao, a molecular scientist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine .

May help prevent heart disease

A study from Nutrition Research found that consuming steamed broccoli regularly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing the total amount of cholesterol in the body. Another study in the US also found that increasing vegetables in the diet, especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli , could reduce the risk of heart disease.

The lutein found in broccoli helps keep arteries open and blood flowing. Folic acid is also found in it, which protects the arteries, and slows down the effects of aging in the brain.

Broccoli is rich in protein

Raw broccoli is a surprisingly good source of protein, at 2.57 g per cup. Broccoli is also high in fiber, along with notable amounts of vitamins K, C, A, E, and various B vitamins, plus minerals like chromium, phosphorous, copper, and manganese. If you don’t like eating raw broccoli, boiling and steaming are common preparation methods.

Helps with arthritis or gout

Broccoli contains an anti-inflammatory flavonoid called kaempferol, making it useful for men who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases.

The sulforaphane it contains and other cruciferous vegetables blocks the enzymes in your body that cause joint destruction , which can help prevent osteoarthritis and slow the progression of this inflammatory disease and at the same time be an ally in treating gout problems .

Helps prevent allergies

This delicious vegetable is a member of the cruciferous family. What does that mean? Research shows that crucifers, such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and cabbage, can help clear your sinuses. The kaempferol in broccoli is helpful in suppressing the development of allergy inflammation .

Additionally, broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C. In fact, studies suggest that getting 500 mg of vitamin C every day can ease your allergy symptoms.

It is rich in fiber

Skipping a daily dose of fiber often leads to constipation, which can make going to the bathroom painful and uncomfortable. Eating little fiber can make it difficult to control blood sugar and appetite because fiber regulates the speed of digestion and contributes to satiety (also known as feeling full).

Fiber helps lower blood sugar, prevent colon cancer, and lower cholesterol . Plus, fiber fills you up and helps promote bowel regularity, keeping things running smoothly. Broccoli has 5.1 grams of fiber per cup, steamed.

Reasons to eat broccoli sprouts

But what’s even better than these 10 reasons to eat broccoli is to eat broccoli sprouts , which are even more potent than whole broccoli.

Broccoli sprouts are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to enjoy the cancer-fighting benefits. Broccoli sprouts contain 20 to 50 times more anticancer properties than broccoli heads, taste milder than the mature plant, and can be eaten much less to reap the benefits.

The key element is sulforaphane, which is a compound concentrated in broccoli sprouts.

Sulforaphane generally belongs to a class of healthy compounds called phytonutrients, and then to a more specific class called isothiocyanates. Sulforaphane, in particular, has been studied for its role in detoxification, cancer prevention, tumor shrinkage, and even obesity prevention.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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