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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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