Broccoli: Little Trees with Big Results

By Lindsey Johnson

While broccoli’s odor isn’t always appetizing, the flavor and health benefits of this cruciferous veggie are! These little trees are an excellent boost of nutrition, full of many vitamins and minerals.

Did you know that due to broccoli’s fiber content, it is a great tool against constipation? Just one cup of broccoli has 2.3 grams of fiber, or approximately 5 -10% of the recommended daily value.

Broccoli is also high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant in the fight against infections. In fact, broccoli boasts a higher vitamin C content than most citrus, which we typically associate with immune boosting. The high vitamin C content of broccoli also works in favor of skin health and anti-aging properties. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of broccoli contains approximately 45 – 54% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.

Besides being an excellent tool in immunity, broccoli helps fight cancer due to its high content of antioxidants. These antioxidants, which aid in the prevention of cell damage that can lead to cancer, are present in cruciferous vegetables and have even been called “green chemoprevention” for their powerful role in preventing cancer.

Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane, an antioxidant that helps not only with preventing cancer but with reducing inflammation overall. Sulforaphane helps those with Type 2 diabetes manage blood sugar and the high fiber content helps prevent diabetes for others. Sulforaphane plays a role, along with fiber and potassium, in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

Vitamin C, calcium and vitamin K are all important in bone health. In addition to the high vitamin C content, one cup of broccoli contains 64-86% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K and 3-3.5% of the daily recommended amount of calcium. Developing and maintaining strong bones earlier in life can help prevent dangerous falls later.

Is there anything broccoli CAN’T do? With so many health benefits, broccoli is a great addition to a well-rounded diet. Don’t like the taste? Broccoli is most bitter when roasted. Try steamed broccoli with healthy seasonings such as fresh lemon juice, a sodium-free seasoning, black pepper or sprinkled with some light Parmesan.

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