What Happens When You Eat Broccoli Daily.
Folks are clearly realizing that there's good reason to make broccoli a daily habit, and you should, too. Don't worry about getting bored -- there are hundreds of ways to prepare it. Here's what will happen if you make broccoli your vegetable du jour.
1. Lower Cancer Risk
We all know that a diet rich in fruits and veggies is crucial to lowering one's lifetime risk of cancer. But broccoli may be one of the most potent anti-cancer foods out there. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning it is high in compounds called glucosinolates. These are antioxidants that researchers have linked to a lower risk of several cancers, including stomach, lung, colon, and rectal varieties.
Beyond the antioxidant content, broccoli is also high in fiber. Sufficient fiber intake is known to reduce the risk factors for cancers of the digestive system. Vitamin C is also linked to a reduced risk of esophageal cancer.
2. Nourish Better Skin
Smooth, moisturized skin comes from the inside out. Broccoli can help with its combination of vitamin C and potent antioxidants. Just one cup of broccoli covers the entire RDA of vitamin C for women and about 90% RDA for men. Vitamin C is critical in the production of collagen, one of the proteins that nourish skin and hair. The result is young-looking skin that is smooth and elastic.
Free radicals grab atoms from our cells and damage them, leading to accelerated aging. Antioxidants bind with free radicals and prevent them from causing this damage. Together, the effect of vitamin C and antioxidants can really improve the look, feel, and agelessness of your skin.
3. Maintain Strong Bones
Vitamin K is also present in broccoli in high amounts. One cup will deliver between 75-100% of RDA for this bone-strengthening vitamin. Though we tend to think of calcium and vitamin D as playing a bigger role in bone density, studies show that a low level of K is clearly linked to weaker bone density, as well as the fact that supplementing with K can improve the situation.
Vitamin K seems especially good at slowing down bone loss in women after menopause, and in reducing the risk of fractures in people with osteoporosis. But that's not all you can count on K for -- it also plays a vital role in blood clotting, something you don't think much about until you need it.
4. Feel Full with Less Food
Fiber can do more than reduce cancer risk. It plays a huge role in "moving things along," or to put it plainly, helping you poop. Fiber not only normalizes bowel movements, it helps maintain bowel health and lowers cholesterol levels and controls blood sugar to boot.
A meal rich in fiber is digested slowly and fully, staving off hunger for longer. If you are looking to cut calories and resist snack cravings, broccoli might be just the ticket.
5. Improve Cardiovascular Health
While we're here, let's sing the praises of vitamin C a little bit more. Beyond being essential to healthy skin, hair, and eyes, recent studies have indicated that vitamin C might reduce vessel constriction as much as exercise.
Constricted vessels can cause a host of health concerns including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. We are not suggesting that vitamin C can take the place of exercise, but it can certainly augment your workout routine. In fact, keep reading for more on this connection.
6. Recover from Exercise More Quickly
Vitamin C plays a huge part in repairing tissues all over the body, and your muscles are no exception. When you really hit it hard at the gym, you create little tears in your muscle fibers. The repair process is what builds strength, so this is a good thing. But soreness and stiffness can really slow you down.
A study out of the University of Maryland suggests that consuming 400 mg of vitamin C on a daily basis improves muscle function and decreases muscle soreness after intense exercise. Vitamin C, as we've mentioned, also supports collagen production. Collagen helps to make cartilage, ligaments, blood vessels, tendons, and skin.
7. Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is one of those natural bodily defense mechanisms that can actually do more harm than good. It occurs when blood and fluid pool in a particular area of the body, swelling tissues. This is meant to support healing by trapping toxins and preventing their spread, but when inflammation becomes chronic it results in painful conditions and dangerous conditions.
In fact, inflammation plays a role in virtually all diseases known to man, including arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cancer. Broccoli contains a phytonutrient called sulforaphane and a flavonoid called kaempferol, both of which are able to interrupt inflammatory signals to cells.
8. Enjoying Broccoli Daily
Not sure if you can stomach a daily dose of this powerful vegetable? It's true that culinary boredom is a significant stumbling block to this worthwhile goal. But don't make the mistake of thinking it has to be steamed or nothing. Broccoli can be eaten raw or steamed, stir-fried, roasted, or baked.
Flavors that pair nicely with broccoli include eggs, tomatoes, cheese, chicken, onions, garlic, lemon, and olive oil, just for starters. Try roasting broccoli topped with olive oil and parmesan cheese, or wrap it in an omelet and top it with salsa. You can even use broccoli stems instead of basil to create a tasty pesto for sandwiches and wraps. When you're in a hurry, keep it basic with a handful of finely chopped broccoli on your salad, or down a few florets dipped in ranch dressing.
So there you have it: several excellent reasons to eat broccoli every day. We're big supporters of this idea, so may have held back one tiny downside to eating so much of it. In the interest of full disclosure, here it is. As a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli can tend to make one a bit, ahem, gassy. It happens due to the presence of a sugar called raffinose, which the human body lacks the ability to break down. The bacteria in your large intestine do their best, but gas is the unfortunate side effect. Combat this problem with a supplement containing the enzyme alpha-galactosidase, or you know, just eat your broccoli at home. Just don't avoid it -- there are too many health benefits to miss!
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