Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrition, loaded with vitamins, minerals and potent phytonutrients such as glucosinolates, Isothiocyanates and sulforaphane.
This rich nutritional profile makes this vegetable a "must juice" for those of us looking to reap the greatest health benefits of juicing.
Being the humble and common vegetable that it is, broccoli has been the subject of many studies, and the evidence is strong for this vegetable's anti-cancer, anti-inflammation and pro-detoxification abilities -- among others.
Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family of vegetables, that also includes, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts, savoy and collard greens; all of which share some or all of the powerful health benefits of broccoli and its juice.
So let's take a closer look at the nutritional profile and health benefits of juicing broccoli and reveal just how awesome this green wonder is.
(Check out our bumper article about the 101 benefits of juicing).
1 cup (76g) of chopped raw broccoli provides:
(Nutrition data provided by USDA)
The inflammatory response in the body is vital for short-term, temporary circumstances, such as healing from injury. Ongoing inflammation in the body, however, carries a significant risk for numerous health issues, including cancer.
Inflammation can be triggered for all sorts of reasons in this modern age; stress, various toxins in food and toxins in the air to name a few.
Fortunately for us, broccoli contains phytonutrients that have been shown in lab and animal studies to greatly reduce inflammation.
To get a little technical, something called the NF-kappaB signaling system is what the body utilizes to "rev up" an inflammation response in the body. It triggers an increase in the production of numerous inflammatory components (including IL-1beta, IL-6, iNOS, COX-2 and TNF-alpha).
This is where broccoli can come to our aid. It contains glucosinolates, a phytonutrient that the body uses to synthesize a group of compounds called Isothiocyanates (ITCs). These ITCs help shut down the genetic processes that produce NF-kappaB and thus reducing Inflammation. The key ITC provided via broccoli is called sulforaphane.
All cruciferous vegetables possess these potent anti-inflammatory benefits, so be sure to enjoy broccoli juice (or juice of any other cruciferous vegetable) regularly for its potent natural anti-inflammatory effects.
Broccoli juice is an excellent source of vitamin K and a decent source of phosphorous, calcium and magnesium - nutrients required for building healthy bones.
Even though vitamin K is known for its blood clotting properties, it's also needed for bone mineralization.
Detoxification in the body works in a 2 phase process.
The 2nd phase is where activated toxic substances are bound with nutrients for safe excretion from the body and it's the 2nd phase where broccoli juice benefits are of greatest help.
The glucosinolates in broccoli (plus their Isothiocyanates derivatives) are shown to activate this phase 2 detoxification activity within the cells.
For best benefits, 1 to 2 cups of broccoli or its juice per day is recommended.
The unique combination of anti-inflammatory, pro-detoxification and antioxidant components in broccoli makes it a specialized food for cancer prevention.
The link between oxidative stress, inadequate detoxification, chronic inflammation and the subsequent development of cancer is based on solid research - thus foods that reduce inflammation, promote detoxification and reduce oxidative stress are likely to reduce our risk of cancer.
Broccoli, in particular, as shown by research is strongest against prostate, colon, bladder, breast and ovarian cancer.
So most certainly load up on a cup of daily broccoli juice to help lower your chances of developing cancer.
Like a lot of green vegetables, especially green cruciferous vegetables and green leafy vegetables, broccoli is a good source of vitamin K. This vitamin is essential for wound healing, without it the body cannot form blood clots properly making it difficult to heal from cuts, bruises and scrapes.
A daily glass of broccoli juice benefits may just be the way to go to keep your immune system in top shape.
Broccoli is a source of 2 important vitamins needed by the immune system for optimal health: Vitamin C and B6. In fact, broccoli is one of the best sources of vitamin C in the vegetable world.
Vitamin C: the classic immune system nutrient that many of us are aware of and often use as the primary line of defense against flu and cold.
A study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism discovered that vitamin C helps shorten the length of and lessen the symptoms of RTIs (respiratory tract infections) such as the common cold.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is vital for supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system.
Sub-par levels of this vitamin are linked to a weak immune system, so enjoy leafy green veggies like broccoli regularly to sustain healthy B6 levels and a strong immune system.
Broccoli juice is a good source of carotenoid phytonutrients and a great source of vitamin C, 2 nutrients vital for overall skin health.
Research published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics highlighted that diets high in carotenoid phytochemicals -- like beta-carotene and other types of carotenes present in broccoli -- help prevent premature aging of the skin, cell damage, and other diseases of the skin.
Vitamin C is crucial to healthy skin. Without it, the body cannot synthesize collagen, the elasticated material that keeps our skin young and supple.
Here is an interesting tidbit about choosing the broccoli with the most phytonutrients.
A recent study featuring organic broccoli discovered an association between the total carotenoid content and the deep green color of broccoli. The deeper green the broccoli florets are, the more carotenoid content they contain.
What makes this interesting is that carotenoids are orange or yellow-hued pigments, yet the more green the broccoli the more carotenoids. Also, the more green any plant is, the more healthy chlorophyll it contains.
So "go green" with your broccoli for the best benefits.
As always, aim for organic if you can to limit the amount of pesticides in the juice. The more pesticides, the more antioxidants that are used up to try and combat the negative effects of pesticides within the body.
Unlike steaming, boiling, frying or other ways to cook broccoli, juicing lets you use all the broccoli - stems and leaves.
The stems and leaves are likewise a great source of phytonutrients and other nutrients that benefit health.
Here are 5 broccoli juice recipes you can make at home and enjoy the health benefits of this awesome cruciferous vegetable.
Like the juice of other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli juice is not the most palatable. Mixing juice with the juice of other healthy fruits and veggies will be a more taste bud-friendly way to enjoy broccoli. Carrots and apples are 2 good choices.
This broccoli juice recipe keeps it simple- broccoli mixed with carrots.
Carrots are sweeter than broccoli and will offset the sour taste of pure broccoli juice.
This is an alteration of the classic V8 juice to incorporate the health benefits of drinking broccoli juice combined with the awesome health benefits of 7 other veggies.
This potent juice provides an incredible variety of cancer and inflammation-fighting phytonutrients.
Sweeten that broccoli with some tasty healthy fruits.
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious green vegetables. Combine it with some leafy green vegetables and you have created a green juice that is loaded with intense concentrations and a massive variety of phytonutrients.
The result is a juice that provides powerful anti-cancer benefits to many types of cells, alkalinity for an anti-disease ph bodily environment and powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Let's throw in a few carrots also to sweeten things up.
Take advantage of broccoli's phase 2 detoxification abilities and much more with this blend of pro-detoxification fruits and vegetables.
This recipe mixes the superfood kale with our broccoli so that we can get the best of two super-greens.
A red and a green apple are added to make this juice more palatable and ..well.. just for fun too.
There are 3 types of broccoli that are commonly grown: Calabrese, Sprouting Broccoli and Purple Cauliflower.
Calabrese broccoli is the most familiar type of broccoli. It is the standard green broccoli that we see at the store with thick stalks and large green heads. It is named after the "Calabria" region of Italy.
This type of broccoli is visually distinct from "standard" Calabrese broccoli. It features multiple smaller heads and many thin stalks.
Also referred to simply as "purple broccoli", the purple cauliflower -- not surprisingly -- is recognizable by its purple tipped heads. However, not all cultivars of this broccoli have purple heads!
In addition to the main 3 varieties, there are other popular cultivars including Blue Wind, Belstar, Coronado Crown, DiCicco, Destiny, Green Magic, Green Goliath, Romanesco, Purple Sprouting, Waltham and Sun King.