Broccoli – properties and nutritional values


Broccoli has unique health properties. Among other things it protects against cancer, stomach ulcers, anaemia, and also have a beneficial effect on the functioning of vision and regulate blood sugar, which is especially important for diabetics. All thanks to the content of vitamins, minerals and sulforaphane - a powerful antioxidant. Check the nutritional and health properties of broccoli.

What is Broccoli?

Broccoli, otherwise green cauliflower or asparagus, has unique properties and nutritional values, making them one of the healthiest vegetables in the world. In addition, broccoli taste is more delicate than their cousin's cauliflower, and thus - they are definitely tastier and can be combined with many more dishes.

Broccoli - anti-cancer properties

Broccoli exhibit anti-cancer properties due to the high content of sulforaphane - a powerful antioxidant that blocks the formation of cancerous DNA mutations and facilitates the elimination of cancer cells. Sulforaphane can protect, among others against prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancer, but only if the broccoli is properly cooked. University of Illinois researchers point out in the Journal of Food Science.

Chemical structure of sulforaphane
Chemical structure of sulforaphane

Research shows that vegetables retain their anti-cancer properties when blanched at 76 degrees Celsius rather than 86 degrees Celsius, as is practised until now. Boiling vegetables breaks down myrosinase - an enzyme that is necessary for the production of sulforaphane - the researchers explain. Due to the fact that high-temperature blanching is an introduction to freezing vegetables, frozen broccoli does not retain the ability to produce sulforaphane, and thus - they do not have anti-cancer properties. The solution is to steam broccoli for a maximum of 4 minutes.

Other American scientists recommend that cooked broccoli be consumed together with other products containing active myrosinase, including mustard, radishes, arugula, wasabi and all raw brassica vegetables. As a result, anti-cancer properties are activated faster in broccoli. The anti-cancer effects are also strengthened by combining broccoli with tomatoes.

Broccoli can alleviate the symptoms of autism

Broccoli may alleviate the symptoms of autism for some time - argue scientists from the MassGeneral Children’s Hospital and the John Hopkins Medical University (USA) in the magazine PNAS.

All thanks to the content of sulforaphane, which protects against inflammation caused by oxidative stress, characteristic for people with autism. According to the researchers, therapy with this substance improves the overall functioning of patients. Research shows that patients who have not spoken so far in a voice, speech or gesture have become more communicative (e.g. shaking hands with other people). Their specific behaviour was also limited. Unfortunately, the effects of the therapy are only temporary and disappear afterwards.

Broccoli can protect against ulcers

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts can protect against stomach and duodenal ulcers. The abovementioned green vegetables contained in these sulforaphane destroys Helicobacter pylori - bacteria that can contribute to the development of ulcers, as well as a number of other disorders, including gastritis, esophagitis and even stomach cancer - argue scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore (USA). Their research shows that sulforaphane kills Helicobacter pylori regardless of whether the bacterium is inside or outside the cells of the gastric mucosa. In addition, it even kills strains that become resistant to commonly used antibiotics.

Broccoli for hypertension

Broccoli is rich in potassium - 100 g of cooked vegetables contain up to 295 mg of this element. Thanks to potassium, blood vessels are more elastic, which makes the blood circulate more freely. The effect is a pressure drop. In addition, potassium accelerates the excretion of excess sodium from the body, which also helps in reducing pressure. Therefore, they should be used by people struggling with hypertension.

Broccoli for strong joints

Broccoli strengthens the joints and makes them more flexible. Everything due to the high content of vitamin C (64.9 mg in 100 g of cooked vegetables), which is necessary for the production of collagen, which builds cartilage, improves the condition of connective tissue and is responsible for the condition of joints and tendons.

Broccoli for healthy eyes

Broccoli contains lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin B2 and vitamin C - substances that protect against age-related vision disorders. They can include reducing the risk of macular degeneration.

Most important benefits of broccoli
Most important benefits of broccoli

Broccoli and diabetes

Glycemic Index of broccoli 15, however, diabetes should not be used not only because of the low glycemic index. Broccoli may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in diabetics, who, due to high blood glucose, are up to five times more likely to develop these diseases than other patients, according to University of Warwick researchers. Broccoli owes its unique properties to sulforaphane, which stimulates the production of an enzyme that protects blood vessels and allows them to regenerate.

In addition, these vegetables contain chromium, whose interaction with insulin ensures that optimal blood sugar levels are maintained.

Broccoli and slimming

Broccoli is low in calories - in 100 g of cooked vegetables it provides only 35 kcal. In addition, they have fibre that fills the stomach, giving a feeling of satiety for a long time, and thus prevents snacking. However, they should not be the main ingredient in a slimming diet because, like other brassicas, they cause bloating.

Tags: antioxidants, broccoli, sulforaphane

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