Ever wonder why mom always nagged you to “eat your broccoli”? Many kids — and adults! — see broccoli as a sort of punishment, but the fact is that it is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. And if you prepare it the right way, it is also one of the most delicious! Let’s explore the side of broccoli you never knew about — and discover the incredible dishes you can use it to make.

1. Broccoli Helps Achieve Beautiful Skin

Gorgeous, healthy skin is not just achieved through moisturizers and toners: it starts from the inside out and is based on a healthy diet. Broccoli is rich in a combination of vitamins A, C and E which, together, can help reverse skin damage from exposure to pollution or the sun, improve skin texture and reduce wrinkles and keep your skin looking healthy and youthful due to supporting the formation of collagen.

2. Broccoli Treats Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is a much more widespread problem than people think — and diet can make a big difference in helping to treat this condition.  Broccoli is high in both vitamin A and K, which makes it easier for the body to absorb vitamin D itself.

3. Broccoli Promotes Heart Health

Heart health is a major concern for people nowadays — and rightly so.  Broccoli helps to promote the health of the heart in several ways. It is high in soluble fiber, which reduces high cholesterol levels. At the same time, the sulfur-containing compounds in broccoli help to strengthen the blood vessels which support the heart.

4. Broccoli Reduces Allergy Symptoms

Sick of the runny nose, itchy eyes, and sinus headaches that go along with an allergic reaction?  A diet that includes broccoli can help.  Broccoli is rich in a compound called kaempferol which reduces the irritation and inflammation of allergy symptoms. Because of this, broccoli is considered to be part of a hypoallergenic eating plan to manage allergies naturally.

5. Broccoli Boosts Your Whole Digestive System

Constipation? Heart burn?  These problems can be a thing of the past if you eat broccoli on a regular basis. The fiber is the key here: it can bulk up stools and make them easier to pass, reducing your chances of getting constipated, but also makes the whole process of digestion easier so that it is less likely that you will suffer from heartburn, sour stomach or other common problems.

6. Broccoli Reduces Cancer Risk

Cancer is a major concern for anyone wanting to stay healthy. Broccoli, however, can be part of a cancer-fighting diet: it contains a compound called sulforaphane, which multiple studies have found can reduce the risk of several different forms of cancer, including cancer of the colon, lung, pancreas and esophagus.

7. Broccoli Helps with Weight Loss

Any dieter knows what a challenge it can be to shed those excess pounds once you have put them on.  But knowing which foods to choose can help you to eat smart and make it easier to achieve your weight loss goals.  Broccoli is an ideal food for this – a cup of it is only 31 calories, but it is loaded with fiber to help curb your appetite and feel full even when you eat less.

8. Broccoli Strengthens Your Bones

Weakened bones — usually due to a condition called osteoporosis — is a major problems as women get older, especially after they reach menopause, when hormone changes can leach minerals from the bones and increase the risk of fractures.  Eating broccoli is a great way to help prevent this, with a combination of calcium and vitamin K that can keep bones healthy and strong.

Broccoli is a Delicious Addition to Many Dishes — Seriously!

Wanting some great ways to start enjoying broccoli in your diet.

Broccoli and Pepper Stir-Fry

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Broccoli Quiche

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Broccoli and Goat Cheese Souffle

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Spinach-Broccoli Soup with Garlic and Cilantro

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Broccoli Salad with Garlic and Sesame

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So try adding broccoli in your diet today — its unique combination of vitamins, fiber and other nutrients will give you a delicious way to be healthy and get to know this under-loved vegetable.

Featured photo credit: al1962 via shutterstock.com

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