Health & Wellness, Nutrition

Why You Need More Broccoli in Your Life: 7 Broccoli Benefits

Growing up, odds are that you were often told to “eat your broccoli.” And this common command makes many kids automatically develop a distaste for the food. That’s a shame, because broccoli benefits your health in so many ways.

Fortunately, prepared the right way, you can actually enjoy the taste and reap the many benefits of broccoli. From helping to fight osteoporosis to supporting your memory, broccoli benefits abound.

So, let’s take a closer look at this health food and discuss all the broccoli benefits you need to know about. We’ll also review a few ways you can prepare it so that you (and your kids or grandkids) love the taste!

 

7 Amazing Broccoli Benefits for Your Health

Here are seven of the incredible broccoli benefits you can take advantage of by regularly incorporating this food into your diet.

1. Helps fight osteoporosis

Perhaps one of the top ways broccoli benefits your health is by helping to fight osteoporosis and poor bone health. And it’s largely thanks the amount of vitamin K contained in broccoli.

Did you know that one cup of steamed broccoli contains about 220 mcg of vitamin K? [1] Considering the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin K (90 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men), this is a huge benefit of eating a relatively small amount of broccoli!

So, want to know more about how the vitamin K in broccoli benefits your bones? Well, research has found that vitamin K actually doesn’t just increase bone mineral density, as previously believed.

Instead, studies have shown that consuming vitamin K (particularly, vitamin K1) increases bone strength.

Accordingly, one study revealed that when 440 postmenopausal women with osteopenia took 5 mg of vitamin K1 each day for two years, their chances of experiencing clinical fractures decreased by more than 50 percent! [2]

2. Supports eye health

Another way broccoli benefits your health is by supporting your vision and overall eye health.

In fact, broccoli is known to contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to decrease the risk of certain eye conditions.

According to a 2006 study, high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin were associated with a significant reduction in the risk of developing age-related maculopathy (a degenerative disease of the retina that leads to visual impairment and even blindness). [3]

Additionally, the same study revealed that beta-carotene, which is also found in broccoli, significantly helped to reduce the risk of developing nuclear cataracts (cataracts that impact the center of the lens).

Interestingly, broccoli benefits your eyes thanks one of its other nutrients as well: vitamin A. You may be surprised to learn that vitamin A has been shown to help fight night blindness as well as dry eyes! [4]

In fact, a 2019 study revealed that consuming vitamin A improved the quality of tears in patients with dry eyes. [5]

3. Contains anti-inflammatory properties

Broccoli benefits your overall health as well by helping to fight inflammation. As you may recall, inflammation is the root of many of our modern chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, gut-related concerns, and even cancer.

So, how does broccoli fight inflammation? According to a 2014 study of more than 1,000 women, consuming cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli reduced markers of inflammation by up to 24.68 percent! [6]

Meanwhile, another 2014 study examined broccoli florets and confirmed that broccoli benefits the body due to its “potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.” [7]

4. Supports memory and overall brain health

It may be hard to believe at first, but did you know that eating broccoli benefits your brain—and your memory in particular— as well?

In a 2018 study, on 960 patients ages 58 to 99, researchers found that consuming green leafy vegetables rich in nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, beta-carotene, folate, and more once each day helped to slow age-related cognitive decline. [8]

Moreover, those who consumed the most vegetables rich in these nutrients scored at a level that was equivalent to being 11 years younger than their actual age!

5. May help reduce cancer risk

For many years now, you’ve probably heard that eating broccoli benefits your body by helping to reduce your risk of getting cancer. But how true is that?

As it turns out, research shows there is quite a bit of truth to this commonly held belief. According to studies, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli contain natural compounds that actually inhibit and neutralize cancer-causing compounds.

Moreover, they even help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells. [9]

But how does it work? Well, newer research has shown that a compound found in broccoli called I3C actually helps to suppress tumor development and growth. [10] How incredible is that?

This may be one of the greatest broccoli benefits to date!

6. Helps lower risk of heart disease

At this point, it’s probably hard to imagine there are more broccoli benefits, but there are! And this one is another big one: Eating broccoli on a regular basis can actually help to lower your risk of heart disease.

Given the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., this is one benefit we have to discuss. [11]

A 2008 study revealed that eating steamed broccoli actually improves bile acid binding, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol as well as overall risk of heart disease. [12]

Interestingly, the study revealed that consuming steamed broccoli improved bile acid binding by 10 percent!

Moreover, a study published in 2020 revealed that women who consumed more than 45 g of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli each day were 46 percent less likely to have extensive calcium buildup on their aorta. [13]

It’s worth mentioning that 45 g of broccoli equals about one-fourth of a cup. That’s definitely something doable by us all, right?

7. Fights hair loss

Finally, one of the last broccoli benefits worth mentioning is what it can do for your appearance—specifically, your hair.

First, broccoli is  rich in B vitamins, which are depleted during times of stress. And while you know that B vitamins are crucial for helping to decrease your stress levels, you may be surprised to learn that they actually support the strength of your hair follicles as well.

Studies have shown that hair loss is actually a symptom of a deficiency in the B vitamin biotin. [14] Additionally, both vitamins B9 and B12 are believed to play important roles in protecting the integrity of your hair follicles. [15]

Broccoli is also rich in vitamin C, which is known to strengthen your hair follicles. And this happens because this vitamin aids in the synthesis of collagen, which helps to strengthen hair as well as promote the health of your scalp. [16]

 

Broccoli benefits - Dr. Pingel

 

Ways to Prepare Broccoli (So You Actually Like It!)

If you’re looking for some suggestions on how to cook broccoli and enjoy it, you’ve come to the right place. Of course you can steam it, season it, and serve it as a side, but there are plenty of other ways to eat broccoli, too!

For starters, I love to roast broccoli with garlic powder and avocado oil. But it’s also great served on pizza, in a stir-fry, or even in pasta or tortillas!

Here are a few recipes of mine that incorporate broccoli:

Key Takeaways

  • Broccoli benefits your health in many ways, from supporting bone health to fighting inflammation to helping reduce cancer risk and more!
  • The key to consuming broccoli regularly (and enjoying it!) is to change up how you eat it. You can eat it as a side, of course, but you can also incorporate it into everyday dishes. Check out some of the recipes above to get a sample of the different ways you can enjoy all that broccoli has to offer.

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