Health Benefits Of Broccoli And Cauliflower…Nutrition Facts And Common Side Effects
Broccoli and cauliflower belong to a family of plants called “Cruciferae” or “Brassicaceae,” that includes other vegetables such as cabbages, mustards, cresses, and turnips. All the plants in this family offer almost similar health benefits.
Broccoli Nutrition Facts
Broccoli is a leafy vegetable that is native to Italy. It gets its name from “broccalo,” which is an Italian word for “cabbage sprout.”
Among botanists, broccoli is referred to as “Brassica oleracea italic,” and belongs to the family of cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables. It is a green and leafy vegetable having flowery buds. Broccoli is packed with nutritious vitamins and minerals that make it one of the richest edible vegetables known to man.
Broccoli has a low caloric content and is packed with vitamins including vitamins A, C – two times more than that in orange, K, and B vitamins. It also contains fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc, iron, and other vital chemical substances that offer protection against diseases.
Types of broccoli
The different varieties of broccoli are Sprouting broccoli, Chinese broccoli, Calabrese broccoli, Broccoflower, Broccoli rabe, and Purple cauliflower.
How to prepare broccoli
Broccoli can be prepared in different ways including boiling, stir-frying, roasting, and steaming. However, to get the best out of the plant, it is advised that it is not subjected to heat for long periods – eating raw broccoli offers the greatest benefits.
Health benefits of broccoli
- Broccoli is good for the skin.
Broccoli is rich in vitamin C as well as in other minerals that are beneficial for the skin. The presence of vitamin K and antioxidants in this healthy vegetable food makes it a good choice for maintaining healthy skin.
- To mitigate the effects of aging on the body.
The large amounts of anti-oxidants in broccoli help in protecting the body against the effects of free radicals in the body which are linked with aging. In addition, the skin benefits from the antioxidants in broccoli as skin problems like wrinkles and pimples are reduced with the consumption of broccoli.
- For protection against cancer.
Like cauliflower and most other vegetables, broccoli has anti-carcinogenic properties. Women with the risk of breast cancer can benefit from eating broccoli as it helps in reducing the release of estrogens in the body. Estrogens in considerable amounts lead to the growth of cancer cells in the breast. It has also been found that other types of cancer can be prevented and treated with broccoli as broccoli contains flavonoids.
- For detoxification.
Broccoli contains dietary fiber and other essential nutrients which help in getting rid of harmful chemical compounds in the body. From cellular detoxification to overall body detoxification, broccoli has been proved to be effective. Just to add, the digestive tract benefits from fiber as the toxins in the alimentary canal cannot stand the presence of fiber.
- Immune system booster.
Since broccoli is rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients, it offers protection for the body against diseases and infections. The presence of vitamins like vitamin C also makes broccoli a healthy option for boosting the immune system.
- For maintaining proper blood pressure.
Broccoli contains healthy fatty acids and other chemical compounds which assist in controlling blood pressure.
- For lowering cholesterol levels.
Consuming broccoli is a healthy way of reducing the body’s cholesterol levels. Low cholesterol levels help in promoting proper heart functioning as well as in preventing heart-related diseases.
- Good for the heart.
Continuing from the last point, eating broccoli is good for the heart in many ways. Besides the reduction in cholesterol levels, it also helps in protecting the veins and arteries connected to the heart from damage.
- For preventing constipation.
It has been stated that broccoli contains fiber which is helpful in the treatment and prevention of digestion problems such as constipation.
- Broccoli helps with weight loss.
Consuming broccoli alone can produce a satiating effect that removes the need for eating more. This benefits the body in multiple ways: first, craving and overeating are put under control, and then the body weight is balanced. Overweight persons seeking a healthy diet for weight reduction should include broccoli in their regimen.
- Protects the eyes.
Broccoli is also packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene which help in protecting the eyes. Moreover, the presence of other elements such as phosphorus and B vitamins means that the eyes will be free from common eye problems.
- For bone strengthening.
Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin K are also found in broccoli; these nutrients are essential for bone health. This means that the bones can benefit greatly from the consumption of this vegetable. Bone diseases such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis can be prevented by adding broccoli to your daily diet. Growing children will also benefit from it as it aids proper bone formation in children.
- For treating inflammations.
Broccoli has anti-inflammatory properties. This is due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in broccoli. Inflammatory problems such as arthritis can be remedied and prevented by eating broccoli due to the presence of sulforaphane in the plant. Sulforaphane helps in inhibiting the action of the enzymes that are responsible for the inflammation.
- For reducing allergies.
Broccoli contains chemical substances that are effective in reducing the effect of allergic reactions on our bodies. Studies have found that daily consumption of broccoli can aid in curing allergies due to the polyphenols which it contains.
Cauliflower Nutrition Facts
Cauliflowers also belong to the same cruciferous family as broccoli. Its botanical name is “Brassica oleracea botrytis.” Unlike broccoli which originated from Italy, cauliflowers are believed to have originated from Asia, although they are now common everywhere like broccoli.
Cauliflowers are rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals which nourish and protect the body. Some of these nutrients are vitamins C, E, and K, selenium, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and B vitamins. Cauliflower also contains omega-3 fatty acids and proteins and has a low sugar content.
Types of cauliflowers
There are different types of cauliflowers which are mostly grouped based on the color of the flower head. There are purple, yellow, green, and white varieties, although white cauliflowers are the most common.
Health benefits of cauliflowers
- Protects the skin.
Like broccoli, cauliflowers contain sulforaphane which protects the skin from harmful U-V radiation from the sun. Apart from the protection against UV rays, cauliflower also guards the skin against other skin problems including skin cancer and dermatitis.
- For treating inflammations.
Cauliflower is rich in antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol, which have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, there is a reasonable amount of vitamin C in cauliflower. This makes it a good choice for treating inflammations in the body.
- Anti-cancer food.
The presence of sulforaphane and other sulfur compounds such as glucosinolate in cauliflower helps to prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body. Cauliflower has been found to be a good food for the prevention of different types of cancer including colon, breast, and stomach cancers.
- For bone health.
Research has shown that cauliflower contains high amounts of vitamin K which is an important element in bones. Reduction in vitamin K levels in the joints has been found to be linked with osteoporosis. Eating cauliflowers can help in the prevention of this bone disorder.
- For protection against diseases and infections.
The combination of calcium, selenium, and phosphorus (all present in cauliflower) offers strong protection against infections and diseases.
- For formation of blood clots.
Vitamin K is a known blood coagulant, which means that it aids in the formation of blood clots during bleeding. Since cauliflower is packed with this vitamin, it makes sense to include the vegetable in the diet of persons suffering from bleeding disorders.
- For prevention of stress.
Oxidative stress is caused by the action of free radicals in the body. The action of antioxidants found in cauliflower help in getting rid of these free radicals. These antioxidants called phytochemicals include glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin, indoles, and glucobrassicin.
- For detoxification.
The presence of antioxidants such as glucoraphanin and glucobrassicin in cauliflower gives the vegetable its detoxifying property. If you want to detoxify your body of toxins, then you will be making a right choice by adding cauliflower to your meal.
- Maintaining proper hormonal levels.
Inadequate or excessive production of hormones in the body can lead to health problems, hence, a need to balance hormonal levels. An example is in the abnormal production of excess estrogen which has been linked to the development of various health problems in women. Consuming cauliflower aids in maintaining the balance of hormones in the body through the action of the antioxidants in the plant.
- For pregnant women.
Cauliflower contains folate (a B vitamin) which is helpful in the proper development of the fetus. To give credence to this point, medical professionals have recommended that pregnant women should consider eating this vegetable.
- For treating respiratory disorders.
Research results have confirmed that cauliflower contains chemical compounds that are effective in the treatment of respiratory papillomatosis.
- Cauliflower assists with aging-related brain disorders.
Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s syndrome can be alleviated by the consumption of cauliflower. This is because of the sulforaphane in the vegetable that helps in combating the underlying causes of the diseases.