Top 5 Health Benefits of Broccoli + Nutrition Info and Fun Facts

Broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable from the brassica family, related to cabbage, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi. It contains a variety of key vitamins including C, K, A, E and folate, minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and potassium. Broccoli is also an excellent source of fiber and offers a vegan source of omega three fatty acids. (1)

Low in calories and with a low glycemic load, broccoli also makes the perfect weight loss food. 

Linked to good heart health, weight loss, cancer prevention, and pain relief, broccoli may also protect brain function and curtail aging. Here are 5 ways broccoli can contribute to your wellbeing.

Broccoli Health Benefits

1. Broccoli contains fiber which is good for weight loss and heart health

1 cup of chopped raw broccoli contains 2.4 grams of fiber or 9% of your recommended daily intake (1). Fiber has been shown to increase weight loss, particularly in those who are obese (2), and can improve heart health by enhancing metabolic function, balancing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure (3).

2. Broccoli as a key to cancer prevention

1 cup of raw broccoli contains 136% of the daily value (DV) for Vitamin C. Vitamin C and other antioxidants found in broccoli have been shown to reduce cancer risk. Specifically, this brassica has been linked with a decrease in prostate, breast and colon cancer (4).

3. Broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane which may assist in pain relief

Inflammation can create and contribute to the experience of physical pain, with consequent chronic pain being a significant cause of both physical and mental health issues and disability. There is evidence that two components within broccoli, called indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane, may protect against inflammation (5) and so be beneficial for pain.

 Analgesic medications can damage the liver, and with broccoli's liver-protective properties (6), this green is a perfect dietary addition for those who suffer from pain.

4. Broccoli can help protect brain function

Research America showed that, unsurprisingly, declining mental health is a significant fear (7). With Alzheimer's disease projected to soar (8), broccoli might be a delicious and important piece of the protective puzzle. A key component of broccoli, called sulforaphane, shows neuroprotective properties. (9) Broccoli may help to slow or halt brain degeneration, helping us maintain cognitive health.

5. Broccoli contains sulforaphane which protects against aging

Oxidative stress can damage the body's tissues and the DNA (10) and is linked to aging. Broccoli's sulforaphane effectively combats cellular degeneration and helps to restore our ability to heal, repair and rejuvenate our body and mind.

 Discussing repair, the juice of broccoli leaves has even been reportedly used to treat warts (11).

Nutrient Info For Broccoli

Serving size: 1 cup chopped (raw)

Top 10 Nutrients by %DV
  • Vitamin C135% DV
  • Vitamin K116% DV
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)14% DV
  • Vitamin A11% DV
  • Manganese10% DV
  • Fiber9% DV
  • Potassium8% DV
  • Vitamin B68% DV
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)6% DV
  • Phosphorus6% DV

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database - Release 28.
See the complete nutrition facts with over 150 nutrients, or the nutrition facts comparison of Broccoli vs other foods.

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Broccoli Fun Facts

  1. The name broccoli is derived from the Latin word brachium which means arm or branch.
  2. Broccoli has been a health food for so long, it was even an important vegetable in the Roman Empire.
  3. Broccoli was introduced to the U.S. by Italian immigrants, but only became popular in the 1920s.
  4. China and India together grow 74% of all the broccoli in the world. The U.S. produces the 3rd largest amount at 1.2 million tonnes of broccoli per year.
  5. Broccoli can taste more bitter to some people than to others. The difference in the taste between people is still unknown!
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Data Sources and References

  1. Nutrition Facts for 1 cup of chopped raw broccoli
  2. Dietary Fiber and Weight Regulation
  3. Dietary Fiber and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
  4. Therapeutic Potential of Brassica oleracea (Broccoli) - A Review
  5. Physiological effects of broccoli consumption
  6. Dietary Broccoli Lessens Development of Fatty Liver and Liver Cancer in Mice Given Diethylnitrosamine and Fed a Western or Control Diet.
  7. Survey on Health and Longevity
  8. 2017 Alzheimer's Disease Facts And Figures
  9. Neuroprotective effect of sulforaphane in 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned mouse model of Parkinson's disease
  10. Sulforaphane as a Potential Protective Phytochemical against Neurodegenerative Diseases
  11. Therapeutic Potential of Brassica oleracea (Broccoli) - A Review