Broccoli is a vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family.  It is very similar to the cauliflower and it is used as a cooking ingredient not only for its ability to add flavor to a dish but because it is loaded with plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  These are essential substances that your body needs for optimum health and protection from infections and major illnesses such as cancer and heart diseases.

It is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and it is rich in fiber, protein, thiamine, vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, folate and riboflavin.  It is also packed with minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium.

Here are some of the health benefits of broccoli:

1. It helps to maintain the health of the nervous system.

Broccoli is rich in potassium which makes it effective in keeping the optimal health and function of your brain and nervous system.

2. It helps to regulate blood pressure.

The magnesium and calcium content of broccoli help to keep your blood pressure within normal limits.

3. It helps to boost the immune system.

Broccoli contains twice as much vitamin C as an orange.  Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps to strengthen your resistance to organisms that cause infections.  It also protects you from the harmful effects of free radicals that can cause damage to your cells.  It also contains plenty of beta-carotene and trace minerals like zinc and selenium.  These are essential substances that your body needs to strengthen the immune system.

4. It helps to keep your bones healthy.

Calcium and vitamin K are two of the most important substances in broccoli that can help to maintain the health of your bones.  They also help to protect you from the risk of osteoporosis.

5. It helps to repair your skin from sun damage.

Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, a substance that helps to repair the skin from damage caused by excessive exposure to sunlight.

6. It helps to prevent cancer.

Broccoli is packed with glucoraphanin.  It is a substance that the body converts into sulforaphane, a compound that protects the body from the harmful bacteria H. pylori, an organism that is a known player in the development of gastric cancer.

Another cancer-fighting substance found in broccoli is indole-3-carbinol.  It is a powerful antioxidant that helps to improve liver function and prevent the growth of cancer cells especially the ones that affect the breast, the cervix and the prostate.

7.  It helps to prevent constipation.

Broccoli is rich in fiber which helps to facilitate efficient digestion and elimination process.  It also helps to lower your blood sugar levels and provide you with sufficient amounts of protein.

8. It helps to keep your eyes in good health and protected from degenerative diseases.

Broccoli contains lutein, a type of carotenoid that works to protect your eyes from age-related eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.  Its high vitamin A content also helps to keep your eyes in good health and protected from the risk of night blindness.

9. It helps to protect you from heart diseases and stroke.

The carotenoid lutein and vitamin B6 in broccoli help to prevent the thickening of arteries.  These substances make this vegetable effective in protecting you from the risks of heart diseases and stroke.