Last year one of Taylor‘s papers for her English 101 class was about broccoli. I thought it was so good that I asked her if we could put it on my website. The thing I was impressed with was just how many important health benefits were associated with just one food.
Broccoli the Magnificent
“Jimmy! You may not leave the table until you finish your broccoli!” This resounding mandate, or the memory of it, spoken by many loving mothers, strikes fear into the heart of broccoli haters everywhere. It is unfortunate that so many people are disgusted by the thought of eating these extremely nutritious miniature trees. If broccoli haters only knew some of the incredible effects of broccoli on a human body, perhaps the age old quandary of trying to convince people to eat their broccoli would be alleviated. Just a few of the amazing benefits of regularly eating broccoli are: improved health, anti-aging, and cancer prevention.
Enhanced health is one advantage of eating broccoli. Because broccoli is bursting with essential vitamins and minerals, the benefits of consuming this incredible food are abundant. Broccoli contains almost half of a day’s quota of vitamin A, and more than a day’s quota of vitamin C. Many other essential vitamins and minerals are found in just one serving of this nutritious vegetable. Vitamin C is celebrated for its excellent immune- system-boosting properties. Therefore, a person who eats broccoli regularly will be far less prone to illness and disease than a person who consistently refuses to eat this vegetable. Broccoli also helps improve heart health. In Mayo Clinic’s online article, “Health Tip: Please Pass the Soluble Fiber”, it states that the high content of vitamin C can help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels, decreasing the risk of stroke and heart attack. Yet another blessing of broccoli’s high vitamin C content is bone strengthening. Vitamin C promotes the production of collagen. Kim Erikson, a contributing author to “Better Nutrition”, explains that collagen, one of the body’s basic building blocks, is essential to building sturdy bones, as well as blood vessels, tendons and ligaments (38). Deterring disease and illness and protecting the heart, as well as strengthening many of the body’s foundational components, are just a few of the outstanding effects broccoli can have on someone who regularly eats this nutritional superstar of a vegetable.
Regular consumption of broccoli can also give a person anti-aging benefits. As previously mentioned, the consumption of broccoli supports the production of collagen. Erikson also explains in “Better Nutrition” that collagen, in addition to assisting in the maintenance of bodily components, also replenishes skin (38). Erikson goes on to state that this replenishing can help ward off wrinkles and age-related dry skin (38). Not only does broccoli help defy time’s toll on skin, but also a person’s figure. The immense amount of vitamin C in broccoli aids in the process of transforming stored fat into energy (38). Finally, the vitamin A and vitamin C in broccoli work together to help maintain the health and strength of a person’s hair and nails. Faithfully polishing off those dreaded piles of broccoli works wonders in helping a person continue to look and feel young.
The third and perhaps the most beneficial effect of regularly eating broccoli is cancer prevention. Cancer is rampant in America, causing thousands of deaths in America each year. Fortunately, regular consumption of broccoli can help in fighting this insidious killer. Broccoli contains detoxifying enzymes called sulforaphanes. According to Dr. Paul Talalay, a researcher at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, “[t]hese enzymes act as a defense mechanism, triggering broad-spectrum antioxidant activity that neutralizes many free radicals, cycling over and over again before they can cause the cell damage that may cause mutations, leading to cancer” (“The Amazing Power of Broccoli”). Because these enzymes help prevent free radicals from damaging cells, someone who eats broccoli regularly will be less prone to this lethal disease than someone who does not. In addition to helping prevent cancer, tests have suggested that broccoli can also help slow the development of certain types of cancer such as breast cancer (Angier 2). If not gratifying in taste, broccoli is certainly worthy of a spot on the dinner plate for its excellent cancer deterring effects.
The results of eating broccoli are truly outstanding. Because of these benefits, a mound of these edible flowers is an invaluable addition to the daily diet. Whether broccoli haters like it or not, the nutritional benefits of broccoli continue to give reason for loving mothers to proceed in insisting that their children eat these nutritious vegetables. Even if someone does not enjoy the taste of these miniature trees, he or she can certainly appreciate the enhanced health, resistance to aging and cancer prevention that eating broccoli provides.
“The Amazing Power of Broccoli.” Medical Update 29.4 (2003): 1-2. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.
ANGIER, NATALIE. “April 10-16: Fighting Cancer; More Broccoli, Cabbage And Groans
”]Heard Round, Some Dinner Tables.” New York Times 17 Apr. 1994: 2. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 4 Nov. 2010.
Erickson, Kim. “C’s the day!.” Better Nutrition 70.6 (2008): 38. MasterFILE Premier.
EBSCO. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.
“Mayo Clinic – Health Tip: Please Pass the Soluble Fiber.” Mayo Clinic: Medical Treatment and Research Centers. Web. 01 Nov. 2010. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2007-mchi/4221.html>.