QUESTION: Is broccoli worth growing? What is broccoli good for? Is it worth taking up space in my garden? -Gerry A
ANSWER: When it comes to great taste and nutrition, there is no vegetable that compares to broccoli. Broccoli has a long list of health benefits and is low in calories and rich in essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Broccoli is a fantastic source for vitamins C and K, as well as folic acid, potassium, and fiber. Broccoli also contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and is a good source of beta carotene, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Broccoli is basically a nutritional superfood, providing you with tons of beneficial vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, bioactive compounds and dietary fibers, all while tasting great and looking like a tiny, funky little bonsai tree.
Raw or cooked, broccoli is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, but consuming it raw is significantly better for you than cooking it, however, some cooking methods are less destructive to the nutritional content within broccoli than others. Of all the cooking methods, steaming has the least negative effects of broccoli’s nutrient composition.
Broccoli has an enormous amount of antioxidants, of which you can never have too many. Antioxidants are the tiny, powerful, awesome molecules that go to battle with the villainous cancer-causing, cell-damaging molecules known as free radicals. Antioxidants stop free radicals in their tracks, inhibiting, or neutralizing the damage that they cause to our body’s cells. Antioxidants also reduce inflammation and have an overall health-protective effect on the body.
And there is also a lot of research about broccoli sprouts.
Though more research is always in need to better understand the numerous health benefits that broccoli provides, studies have shown that its bioactive compounds may help reduce inflammation, protect against certain cancers, and in league with broccoli’s dietary fibers, can aid blood sugar control.
Scientists have conducted tests that show how broccoli can support heart health in multiple ways, promote healthy digestion and relieve constipation, slow mental decline and support healthy brain function, and even slow down the body’s aging process. The high vitamin C content and measurable amount of zinc within broccoli supports a healthy immune system. The nutrients contained in broccoli also support dental and oral health, promote healthy bones and joints, support healthy pregnancies, and protect the skin from sun damage.
Eating broccoli once per week is not going to give you superpowers or make your body invincible to sickness and disease, nor is it going to magically reverse the effects of aging. However, adding this highly-nutritious vegetable to a healthy, balanced diet will help contribute to optimal health and help you reach your health goals more easily.
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