In earlier posts we highlighted the benefits of vegetables belonging to the cruciferous family such as brussels sprout and cauliflower. Broccoli also belongs to this group and carries the same ability to prevent the development of cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Researchers have noted for some time now that chronic inflammation is often a precursor to the occurrence of all these health problems. A dysfunctional inflammatory system for example is known to increase one’s chance to develop cancer. It also makes the body become insulin resistant, speeding up the process in which an individual becomes diabetic. The heart as well is affected when inflammation destroys crucial blood vessels and causes the development of cardiovascular disease. The good news is that broccoli, along with other cruciferous vegetables, can prevent all these health problems from occurring, and may even be able to reverse some of the already caused damage.
Broccoli is particularly rich in vitamin D, and this is important because recent research suggests that most human beings are deficient in this essential nutrient. The National Institute of Health has gone so far as to claim that this occurrence is an ignored “worldwide epidemic”. Their concern is not without reason; deficiencies in vitamin D are thought to lead to a whole host of health issues, amongst them being the development of type 2 diabetes. That being said, broccoli is even more unique in that it also contains high amounts of vitamin K and A. Both of these nutrients are needed in order to keep the body’s vitamin D metabolism in check.
Perhaps the best thing about broccoli is that in order to reap its benefits, only a relatively small amount needs to be eaten. Ideally one would want to consume two cups of broccoli per week, preferably either raw or steamed. Interestingly enough, cooking the vegetable in the latter manner actually makes it even more effective in lowering cholesterol. Broccoli can also be fried without completely losing its nutritional value, but it is still not as beneficial as when eaten raw or steamed. This also means though that it can be utilized and prepared in a variety of manners, and as a result is not difficult to fit into ones meals, as opposed to say its relative the brussels sprout.