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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

More by this author

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 May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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