Broccoli basically belongs to the family of green leafy vegetables like cabbage, spinach and Brussels sprouts whose stalks and large flower heads are edible. The plant grows up to a height of around 1 ½ to 2 ½ feet and somewhat resembles a cauliflower. The large flower heads are arranged in a tree like manner on branches sprouting from a thick stalk and are generally green in color, often with a purple tinge.
This plant is native to the Mediterranean where it was derived from the careful breeding of cultivated leafy cole crops. Its name broccoli has been derived from the Italian word Brocco and the Latin word braccium meaning arm, branch or shoot. Broccoli is related to the vegetables like cabbage, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. In England, it is also referred to as Italian Brussel Sprouts. It can be eaten raw or cooked but the raw ones have a higher content of vitamins and nutrients. The flower and stalks are edible whereas the leaves, being bitter in taste, are discarded. Other varieties of broccoli include broccoflower, a cross between broccoli and cauliflower and broccoli or baby broccoli, a cross between broccoli and kale. Today, it is a popular vegetable in the United States and is used in a variety of cuisines.
Benefits Of Broccoli
Broccoli Benefits: Skin
Like other green veggies, broccoli can do wonders for your skin because of the presence of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Thus, it is beneficial to our skin in many ways.
1. Maintains Skin Health:
Broccoli is rich in antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production, thus keeping your skin healthy whereas vitamin A protects your skin cell membranes and prevents ultraviolet radiation damage.
2. Promotes Skin Regeneration and Repair:
Broccoli contains a substance called glucoraphanin which gets converted into sulforaphane resulting in healthy skin and repairing of skin damage. Thus, eating broccoli renews your skin more quickly and gives your complexion a beautiful natural glow.
3. Anti-Ageing Benefits:
As you know, vitamin C has antioxidant properties that fight the free radicals, thus preventing them from causing damage to the skin. Free radicals are responsible for causing skin problems and accelerating skin ageing. By eliminating free radicals, vitamin C prevents skin ageing, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. Eating broccoli is beneficial in this regard. Besides, it contains beta carotene, vitamin E and vitamin B complex that impart natural glow and keep your skin young.
4. Best Sunscreen:
This cruciferous veggie is more effective than sunscreen in protecting your skin from UV radiation. This is due to the fact that sunscreen absorbs UV radiation and prevents it from penetrating the skin whereas broccoli extract when applied topically gets directly absorbed into the cells of the skin by producing a matrix of protective enzymes that defend against damage from UV exposure. This can be attributed to the presence of a chemical substance called sulforaphane which reduces skin redness and inflammation caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Thus, it is far better than conventional sunscreens.
5. Protection from Skin Cancer:
Repeated sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer. As stated earlier, sulforaphane in broccoli provides protection against UV radiation by controlling the redness medically known as erythema. In this way, it significantly reduces the risk of skin cancer.
6. Improves Skin Immune System:
Vitamin C, beta-carotene and other vitamins and minerals such as selenium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus present in dark green vegetables like broccoli can greatly improve your skin immune system, thus protecting you from various skin infections. Vitamins A and K, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids and folate, on the other hand, add glamour and shine to your skin.
[ Read: Benefits of Cardamom ]
Broccoli Benefits: Hair
As you know, healthy hair requires certain vital nutrients like Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B5, vitamin B12, iron, niacin, zinc, sulfur, silica and germanium to be delivered to the hair follicles. Dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli are super food for hair and their consumption strengthens the hair at the roots. Some of the benefits of broccoli for hair are as follows.
7. Promotes Hair Growth:
Broccoli contains vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium which promote hair growth. Vitamins A and C stimulate the production of sebum, an oil based secretion that acts as a natural moisturizer and conditioner for scalp and hair whereas calcium strengthens the hair follicles.
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