Broccoli is the exotic cousin of our local phool gobhi but just as nutritious, if not more. According to Dr Nirupama Rao, nutritionist, Rejua Energy Centre, Mumbai, not only is it low in calories, but also high in fibre, and packed with essential nutrients.
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of broccoli and any precautions you might need to take before eating it.
Nutrition profile of broccoli
Dr Rao elaborated on the nutrition profile of a 100-gram serving of broccoli.
Protein: 2.3 g
Carbs: 5.6 g
Fibre: 2.2 g
Fat: 0.3 g
Vitamin C: 91% of the Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin K: 77% of the DV
Folate: 15% of the DV
Health benefits of broccoli
Broccoli offers various health benefits, with Dr Rao emphasising that its rich nutrient composition can contribute to overall well-being. Let’s see how.
Antioxidant Properties: Broccoli contains various antioxidants, including sulforaphane, which has been studied for its potential in preventing cancer. Sulforaphane may help the body eliminate cancer-causing substances, inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and reduce inflammation.
Digestive Health: The fibre in broccoli aids in digestion and promotes a healthy gut. It can prevent constipation, support regular bowel movements, and maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Cancer Prevention: The compounds in broccoli, such as sulforaphane, may help protect against certain types of cancer. Studies have shown potential benefits in reducing the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
Skin Health: The vitamin C in broccoli promotes collagen production, which is essential for healthy skin. Collagen helps maintain skin elasticity and reduce the signs of aging.
Bone Health: Broccoli’s rich vitamin K content is essential for bone health. It is involved in bone mineralization and helps maintain bone density, reducing the risk of fractures.
Can diabetics eat broccoli?
Diabetics can consume broccoli as part of a balanced diet. Dr Rao said it has a low glycemic index, which means it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. However, it’s essential to monitor portion sizes and the overall carbohydrate intake within a meal.
Is it beneficial for pregnant women?
Dr Rao noted that broccoli can be beneficial for pregnant women due to its high content of folate, a B-vitamin crucial for fetal development. “Folate helps prevent neural tube defects, making it an important addition to a pregnant woman’s diet.”
Things to keep in mind
While enjoying broccoli, Dr Rao warned that individuals should be aware of potential allergies, as some people may be sensitive to cruciferous vegetables like broccoli.
It’s relatively low in sugar, so it’s generally safe for diabetics, but portion control is important, according to Dr Rao, who added that overconsumption may also lead to digestive discomfort, such as gas or bloating.
Myths & facts
Dr Rao debunked some of the myths surrounding broccoli.
Myth 1: Broccoli is a boring vegetable.
Fact: Broccoli can be prepared in various delicious ways, from roasting to steaming, making it a versatile and tasty choice.
Myth 2: Cooking broccoli destroys its nutrients.
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Fact: While some nutrient loss can occur with prolonged, high-heat cooking, there are still benefits to be gained from properly cooked broccoli.
Myth 3: Broccoli causes gas.
Fact: While it can cause gas in some individuals, it’s not a universal issue, and cooking methods can help reduce this effect
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