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16 Amazing Health Benefits Of Broccoli You Should Know

16 Amazing Health Benefits Of Broccoli You Should Know

Ah broccoli, that once-hated vegetable of our childhoods that is now at the forefront of better health. When I was a kid, broccoli would be buried under mashed potatoes in a feeble attempt to hide it, fed to my dog when no one was looking, or when I got really advanced, stuffed into our hollow table legs. The smell eventually got me busted. When you start to see all the great benefits of broccoli, you’ll now look to it as a go-to meal choice. I do, even though it would have 8-year-old me shaking his head in disgust. Here are 16 great benefits of the veggie Newman from Seinfeld called a “vile weed” before drowning it in honey mustard sauce.

1. It Helps To Combat Arthritis

There is a compound in broccoli called sulphoraphane that is a sulfer-rich compound. It blocks a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage. Keeping broccoli a part of your diet may help to slow down and even prevent osteoarthritis. This sulphoraphane actually is crucial in some other areas.

2. It May Help Blood Pressure & Kidney Health

The sulphoraphane in the broccoli may significantly help to improve your blood pressure and kidney function also. A study in rats showed that people who suffered from hypertension showed improved kidney function and lowered blood pressure when given sulphoraphane .

3. It Can Help Fight Cancer

We’re looking again at sulphoraphane which is attributed to cruciferous vegetables and the combined ability to help fight cancer. The bitter taste that comes from the sulfer-containing compound is what aids in it’s ability in fighting cancer. Sulphoraphane can inhibit the enzyme that has known to be involved in the progression of cancer cells. Along with that, compounds in broccoli called isothyiocyanates appear to target and block mutant genes associated with cancer growth.

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4. It Contains High Amounts Of Folate

Adequate intake of folate has shown promise in protecting against stomach, colon, pancreatic and cervical cancer. Folate has been seen to help reduce the risk of breast cancer in woman.

5. It Helps Reduce Cholesterol

Like other vegetables and fruits, broccoli contains soluble fiber that helps draw cholesterol out of your body

6. It’s A Powerful Antioxidant

Vitamin C is just one of many antioxidants, and broccoli contains it in abundance, more than any other cruciferous vegetable. It also contains other powerful antioxidants such as lutein and beta-carotene.

7. It Aids In Bone Health

This is due to broccoli’s high content of both calcium and vitamin K. Both of these are key in bone health as well as preventing osteoporosis.

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8. It Is Effective At Reducing Allergic Reaction & Inflammation

Broccoli is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are like nature’s anti-inflammatory. Broccoli also contains a compound called kaempferol which helps lessen the impact of allergy related substances on the body.

9. It Can Help Fight Cardiovascular Disease

We’re back to the funny sounding word again: kaempferol which has been shown in studies to give us a reduced risk of developing not only cardiovascular disease but cancer as well.

10. It Helps In Overall Heart Health

Not only is that sulforaphane in broccoli an anti-infammatory itself but it may be able to prevent (or reverse) some of the damage to blood vessel linings that can be caused by inflammation due to chronic blood sugar problems.

11. It Helps Ease The Damage Done By Diabetes

This goes hand in hand with the above point, as studies looked at the damage that can be caused by diabetes regarding the heart. It was pointed out that it wasn’t saying that eating broccoli would counteract diabetes but that the sulforaphane encourages the production on enzymes that protect blood vessels and cause a reduction in the number of molecules that can damage cells.

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12. It Protects Against Myocardial Oxidative Damage & Cell Death

When there is lack of oxygen to the heart for a period of time this is known as ischemia. When the blood supply returns the circulation can cause inflammtion and oxidative damage because there was an absence of oxygen and nutrients. This is called reperfusion, and guess what small, tree like vegetable has been shown to protect against this damage? Broccoli.

13. It’s High In Fiber

Broccoli contains a great amount of soluble fiber for the cholesterol issue listed above but soluble fiber also helps aid in digestion, prevent constipation, and helps maintain a blood sugar balance.

14. It Contains Protein

Clearly it’s not as much protein as beef, chicken or fish, but broccoli contains as much protein as a cup of rice or corn. The difference between those starchy carbs and broccoli is that broccoli has half the amount of calories.

15. It Aids In Weight Loss

Speaking of calories, broccoli makes a good choice in weight loss for a few reasons. The main reason has to do with the soluble fiber content which helps curb overeating. Along with that, broccoli promotes satiety which is the ability to feel fuller for longer. There are three things in a food which helps with feeling full and they are protein, water and fiber, three things abundant in broccoli.

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16. It Alkalizes Your Body

Like other vegetables broccoli keeps your body from becoming too acidic. When the pH of your body is out of balance it can lead to issues such as mineral deprivation, hypertension, strokes, and a weakened immune system just to name a few.

Wrapping It Up

You always knew broccoli was good for you, now you REALLY know why it is. It’s time to call your mom up and let her know she was right and you were wrong and you’re sorry. There’s no time like the present to start including this little beauty in as many meals as you can. Broccoli works amazing in stir fries, chopped up into salads, and even steamed with some fresh melted cheddar on top. Broccoli is easy to prepare, cheap, and clearly nutritious.

And you can also let your mom know how wrong you were for thinking those acid wash jeans were cool…

Featured photo credit: Carolyn Coles via flickr.com

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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