Broccoli is an edible green plant part of the Brassicaceae family which also includes cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts. Broccoli grows native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia. It was first introduced to Europe in the 1700’s. It began to be cultivated due to its broccoli health benefits and the many known broccoli uses for health.1
When looking for fresh broccoli, choose plants that are dark green with firm stalks and compact buds. Broccoli can be eaten raw or it can be cooked and added to dishes. Broccoli is a staple in many diets around the world and is widely available.
Broccoli Health Uses and Health Benefits
Broccoli has become a very popular vegetable due to its many broccoli health benefits. Broccoli’s nutritional profile includes being an excellent source of dietary fiber as well as vitamins A (carotenoids), B1. B6, C, E, folate, manganese, phosphorus choline, potassium, copper, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, niacin, selenium, omega 3-fatty acids and pantothenic acid.2,3
Because it is such as nutritious vegetable, broccoli health benefits include:
- Reduces oxidative stress including broccoli for cancer prevention
- Reduces inflammation throughout the body by providing isothiocyanates (ITCs)
- Provides omega-3 fatty acids for anti-inflammation
- Acts as an antioxidant through its numerous vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients
- Supports digestion with dietary fiber
- Boosts cardiovascular function by lowering LDL-cholesterol
The numerous broccoli health benefits make it an important vegetable to add to a regular diet. Doing so may offer the following broccoli uses for health and support in treatment of conditions:
- Bladder Cancer - Broccoli health benefits include being an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. This makes broccoli for cancer a helpful treatment in the prevention of bladder cancer.
- Cervical Cancer - Broccoli health uses include being a possible preventative remedy for cervical cancer which is thought to be attributed to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Epidermolysis Bullosa - Broccoli’s high nutrition including containing ITCs is helpful for treating skin conditions including epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic condition that causes skin blistering.
- Hypothyroidism - Broccoli is believed to help treat a number of symptoms and conditions caused by hypothyroidism including joint pain, infertility and cardiovascular disease.
- Infertility - Studies have shown that broccoli health benefits such as its high vitamin C content can help improve fertility in men.
- Leukemia - There are some known benefits of broccoli for cancer prevention and treatment support including for leukemia. Specifically, broccoli’s ITC content can help to kill leukemia cancer cells.
Broccoli Side Effects and Precautions
There aren’t many known broccoli side effects, however, certain cruciferous vegetables can cause people to experience gas. Broccoli side effects may also include bowel irritation in some people. Talk to your doctor about possible broccoli side effects and interference with some medications.4