Broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable class which also includes cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts.
This class of vegetables is known for their unique and distinct texture.
The word cruciferous is from the Latin word Cruciferae which means “cross-bearing” because of the four petals that resemble a cross!
Broccoli, a nutritious vegetable that closely resembles a miniature tree, is a popular vegetable enjoyed by many around the world.
This certain vegetable that seems to be the bane of most kids’ life is persistently used in many dishes because of its incredibly nutritious content, distinct taste, and bright color.
Broccoli is full of vitamins and minerals, containing antioxidants that work against free radicals.
Free radicals are substances the body acquires through exposure to natural processes which can cause cell damage, resulting in improper functioning of organs and systems.
The following are the research-based health benefits of broccoli:
- Reduced risk of cancer and diabetes
- Phytochemicals called sulforaphane which is identified as a cancer-fighting plant compound that is believed to help reduce the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and oral cancer.
- For diabetes, on the other hand, concentrated amounts of glucosinolates promote insulin sensitivity and help reduce blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes.
- Improved bone strength
- Calcium is widely known for strengthening bones and teeth and Vitamin K also helps in bone support.
- Stronger immunity
- Different antioxidants and enzymes in immune cells help increase the immunity of the body, helping it fight a variety of diseases.
- Less skin damage
- Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is vital to our well-being. In addition, it hugely benefits our skin, delays the onset of wrinkles, and helps in the production of collagen which hydrates and strengthens skin.
- Reduced inflammation
- Sulforaphane is known for its ability to decrease inflammation by reducing the levels of cytokines and nuclear factor kappa B which are the primary causes of inflammation in the body.
- Stronger cardiovascular system
- Calcium may be good for our bones, but too much may cause a buildup in the heart and affect our cardiovascular health.
Flavanols, pectin, and vitamin K are the most common vitamins and minerals found in cruciferous vegetables which can help reduce calcium build-up in the heart.
Does Broccoli Cause Digestive Issues?
Excessive amounts of broccoli can cause:
- Too much fiber in our digestive tracts will activate certain fiber digesting gut bacteria which in return produce a large amount of gas which causes bloating in the stomach.
- Abdominal pain
- Given that fiber induces a large amount of gas production, this causes stomach discomfort.
- Flatulence is caused by increased gas or accumulation of gas in the digestive system.
- Loose stool
- The buildup of insoluble fiber may act as a natural laxative. This will loosen the stool and may affect the regular bowel movements.
- On the other hand, if soluble fiber builds up, stools will be dry and lumpy and will cause discomfort in your stomach.
- Temporary weight gain
- The effect of constipation, it may affect the number of times you discharge your stools in a day.
- This might give a temporary increase in your weight.
- Intestinal blockage
- Given that too much fiber lumps the stool, the digestive tract will have a hard time digesting your food.
Is Broccoli Good For Digestive Issues?
Broccoli also acts as a fuel source for healthy bacteria called probiotics that live in your colon.
The main responsibility of probiotics is to maintain and healthy gut and fight bad, invading bacteria.
In addition, probiotics protect the stomach cells from damage and support the immune system.
Recent studies have shown broccoli is an excellent remedy for a leaky gut. Leaky guts are caused by penetration of the intestinal barriers.
One of the main factors in having a strong and impenetrable intestinal barrier is the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR).
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is best known for its ability to bind to DNA and regulate gene expression.
However, the AhR does much more than that.
This important protein also plays a role in cell proliferation, cell death, cell differentiation, and the development of the immune system.
In other words, the AhR is responsible for keeping your cells healthy and happy.
The AhR is a member of the family of proteins known as receptors.
Receptors are molecules that sit on the surface of cells and act like tiny locks.
When the right key (in this case, a chemical called an agonist) comes along, it binds to the receptor and activates it.
Once activated, the receptor can then go on to perform its various functions.
In the case of the AhR, activation leads to the binding of the receptor to DNA.
AHR helps the gut respond to the different contaminants in its system that may trigger different types of diseases and illnesses.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli contain indolocarbazole or ICZ which binds with AHR and helps bolster the immune system and keep the gut well protected.
Does Broccoli Clean Your Intestines?
If you’re like most people, you probably think of broccoli as a healthy but not particularly exciting vegetable.
However, this humble food may actually be one of the best things you can eat for your intestines.
Broccoli is remarkably high in fiber, containing about 5 grams per cup which is approximately 10% of the recommended daily intake for an adult female, and 20% of an adult male.
Just as a broom can sweep away dirt and debris from your floors, fiber can help to clean out your intestines.
When you eat foods that are high in fiber, the fiber acts like a brush, scrubbing the walls of your intestines and helping to remove any buildup of waste material.
In addition, fiber helps to keep things moving along smoothly, preventing constipation and promoting regularity.
As a result, including fiber-rich foods in your diet is a great way to keep your intestines clean and healthy.
So the next time you feel like your gut is a little stuck, reach for that broccoli and make a delicious, nutritious dish that is guaranteed to have you pooping like a champ!
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.