It’s a common joke that moms plead with their children to eat broccoli. Well, mom was onto something, because this superfood is packed with more nutrients than we knew! The health benefits of broccoli are virtually endless: it strengthens your cardiovascular system, boosts your immune system, is high in fiber, has anti-inflammatory properties, and aids in digestion. (1)
1) Broccoli is your immune system’s great friend
Loaded with phytochemicals – a.k.a. antioxidants – broccoli is a powerful ally of your immune system. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, phytochemicals like those found in broccoli can stimulate the immune system, which in turn reduces inflammation. (2)
In a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, UCLA researchers discovered an important chemical in broccoli that may help revive the body’s immunity. That chemical, sulforaphane, essentially turns on the switch in immune cells to help combat free radicals – the kind that can lead to disease. (3)
2) Let broccoli work on behalf of your heart
Broccoli is an excellent source of a substance known as sulforaphane, mentioned above, which, according to researchers with the British Heart Foundation Imperial College London, can prevent inflammation in what is termed high-risk arterial areas of the heart. (4)
Other studies have demonstrated how diets with an abundance of broccoli are linked to decreased risk of stroke and heart disease. A University of Connecticut study found that broccoli in a daily diet could possibly lead to better heart health. When rats were fed an extract of steamed broccoli for a month, their heart muscles functioned better than those without broccoli meals. (5)
There is a lot of exciting research currently being done on the cancer-fighting properties of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. So far, studies have demonstrated how the bioactive parts of these vegetables can have positive effects on cancer biomarkers in people. (6)
Broccoli doesn’t have to be something that is “endured;” if you find the right recipes, there are countless delicious ways to serve it! That way, you can enjoy your meals while also gaining health benefits, which is a win/win.
Video: Easy broccoli soup recipe
Watch Gordon Ramsay whip a quick and easy broccoli soup with simple ingredients in the video below.
Image source: flic.kr