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11 Benefits of Broccoli to Convince Anyone to Eat It

11 Benefits of Broccoli to Convince Anyone to Eat It

Your parents probably always told you to eat your greens because they were good for you. The truth is that they were right, but probably even more so than they ever imagined. Check out the amazing benefits of broccoli and why you should eat it.

1. It’s great for your hair

Broccoli is full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and calcium–all of which promote healthy hair. Calcium strengthens your hair follicles, and the vitamins stimulate the production of sebum, which is a natural moisturizer and conditioner for your hair. This means that more broccoli means stronger and shinier hair. In addition, the vitamin C also combats hair loss by eliminating free radicals.

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2. It makes your skin healthier and keeps in looking young

Broccoli can help regenerate your skin due to containing glucoraphanin–an organic compound that is unique to broccoli and cauliflower. Basically, it can regenerate sun-damaged skin. Furthermore, the vitamin B, vitamin E, and beta carotene help the skin to glow and look youthful. Now that’s a benefit I can get behind.

3. It can be used as a sunscreen

Strangely enough, broccoli can also be used as protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays, but not by eating it. Research has shown that applying broccoli extract directly to the skin will work as a kind of sunscreen.

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4. It can reduce the risk of cancer

If its beauty benefits weren’t enough to convince you to eat it, maybe reducing the risk of cancer will. Broccoli contains an enzyme called myrosinase that changes the sulfur-based chemicals (glucosinolates) in the vegetable into another type of chemical (isothiocyanates), which have anti-cancer properties. However, if overcooked, the broccoli will lose some of its benefits, so remember to only lightly steam.

5. It’ll help you detox

Very few vegetables have the ability to actively aid in detoxification, but broccoli is one of them. It contains three nutrients by the names of glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin, which detoxify the waste within your body.

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6. It’s good for your heart

Broccoli contains fatty acids, fibers and vitamins that reduces cholesterol and regulates blood pressure. Subsequently, this helps to prevent both strokes and heart attacks.

7. It aids in weight loss

Broccoli is an incredibly healthy source of fiber, which makes it perfect for weight loss. Because it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, it helps to prevent constipation and maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

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8. It can help prevent osteoporosis

Broccoli is rich in calcium (containing even more than dairy products!) and vitamin K–both of which are essential for good bone health. As such, it’s a great preventative of osteoporosis, including the kind that develops during pregnancy. Rather than taking calcium supplements, it’s far healthier to go the natural route by eating plenty of broccoli.

9. It’s an anti-inflammatory and can reduce allergic reactions

Broccoli contains both kaempferol and isothiocyanates, which are anti-inflammatory nutrients. It’s also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that also act as anti inflammatories. Studies have also shown that kaempferol can lessen the impact of allergens on the body.

10. It helps to maintain healthy vision

The aforementioned Vitamin A within broccoli helps your retinas to absorb light and thus maintain proper vision. Its cancer prevention properties that we have already discussed also help to prevent cataracts later in life.

11. It’s an antioxidant

And a powerful one at that. It has the strongest concentration of Vitamin C out of all the cruciferous vegetables. In addition, it also contains other strong antioxidants such as carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. But why is it so important to ingest antioxidants? They have been proven to assist in preventing a wide range of diseases such as cancer and alzheimer’s. They do this primarily through maintaining low levels of free radicals in your system which are often attributed to aiding in disease.

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Tegan Jones

Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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