Nutritional Benefits of Broccoli

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Broccoli is a green vegetable that is part of a group of vegetables that are part of a family of vegetables called brassicas.  The vegetable that it most closely resembles is a cauliflower; however, it derives from a form of wild cabbage.  For anybody interested in maintaining a healthy diet and in eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, broccoli is a must  as it has so many nutritional and health benefits that including it in your diet can only be an advantage.  Here is a summary of some of the nutritional benefits of eating broccoli:

Vitamin C

Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C in your diet.  This is beneficial because humans require a good range of vitamins in their diet for their bodies to function properly.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant.  And can also aid the metabolic and immune systems in the body.  For anybody who takes iron supplements for conditions such as anaemia, they are also advised to increase their vitamin C intake as this will help to break down the iron supplements, enabling the body to absorb them.  A lack of vitamin C in the body can cause scurvy.

Dietary Fibre

Another health and nutrition benefit of eating broccoli is that it provides the body with essential dietary fibre.  This is sometimes also known as roughage.  Dietary fibre is important in assisting the digestive system, reducing the occurrence of wind and aiding a person’s ability to open their bowels frequently, thus preventing constipation.

Anti-cancer properties

It is also believed that broccoli is a good source of nutrients that can prevent cancer.  Some studies have shown that this can particularly be the case with the reduction of the risk of prostate cancer.  Two of the nutritional properties of broccoli that are believed to do this are called selenium and diindolylmethane.  To fully benefit from these anti-cancer properties, it is suggested that the broccoli is eaten raw as it starts to lose some of its nutritional value when boiled. 

Iron and calcium

Broccoli is a good choice of vegetable for a vegan.  A vegan diet requires a person to eat no meat and no products that are the produce of animals.  In a regular diet, most people will gain iron through eating red meat and calcium through dairy products.  In a vegan diet, red meats and dairy products are not eaten and sources of iron and calcium must be sought elsewhere.  Broccoli is one of the best choices of vegetables for gaining a good source of both calcium and iron in he diet.

Low in fat and sugars

Broccoli is also an excellent choice for avid dieters as its fat and sugar content is almost non-existent, meaning that you can eat as much of this product as you like without experiencing any negative effects to your shape or size.  

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