You can’t eat broccoli and lose weight, right? Not exactly. Yes, it’s true that raw or cooked broccoli isn’t the star of a “diet” food list. However, there are certainly plenty of ways you can use broccoli to your advantage while shedding pounds.
What is Broccoli?
Broccoli belongs to a group of vegetables called cruciferous vegetables. Other vegetables that belong to this group include cabbage, cauliflower, bokchoy, etc. This vegetable is a powerhouse of antioxidants and has immunity-boosting properties. Broccoli is highly nutritious and benefits your overall health. One of the main benefits of broccoli is the role it plays in weight loss. Let’s understand how broccoli aids in weight loss.
Broccoli and Weight Loss
When you want to lose weight, the first step is cutting out extraneous calories such as unhealthy snacks, sweets and high-calorie beverages. Many people consume portions that are larger than the recommended serving size, so the next step is reducing portions, if necessary. Depending on your eating habits, the first two strategies are easy to implement. Getting all the nutrients you need while cutting down on the amount of food you consume may be a bigger challenge, but this is one area where broccoli can help.
A 1-cup serving of chopped, raw broccoli only has 30 calories, while the same amount of cooked broccoli has 54 calories. In return for so few calories, a cup of raw broccoli provides more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin C and vitamin K. It’s also a good source of folate and vitamin A and provides some vitamin B6 and potassium as well. You’ll get roughly double the nutrients in a cup of cooked broccoli, except for vitamin C, which is only slightly higher than raw broccoli because some is lost during cooking.
Nutrients That Support Weight Loss
Several nutrients in broccoli — vitamin C, calcium and chromium — may promote weight loss. The body needs vitamin C to synthesize a compound called carnitine, which is essential for metabolizing fats into energy. Less fat is burned during exercise when you’re low in vitamin C, and people who consume a higher amount of vitamin C are more likely to weigh less, according to an article published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2007.
Calcium may reduce the production of new fat cells and stimulate the breakdown of stored fat. It also prevents some dietary fats from being absorbed by binding with them in the intestine. One cup of cooked broccoli supplies 6 percent of the daily value for calcium, based on consuming 2,000 calories daily. According to a study published in Obesity Research in 2004, people on low-calorie diets that include calcium supplements or dietary calcium from dairy products lost more weight than people consuming a low-calorie, low-calcium diet.
Chromium is thought to regulate the activity of insulin. Through this function, it may impact carbohydrate metabolism and may boost weight loss, but more research is needed to verify its role in weight loss. Whether or not it helps you lose weight, chromium is an essential nutrient, and broccoli is one of the best sources. A cup of cooked broccoli has 22 micrograms of chromium, which is about two-thirds of the recommended daily intake.
Phytochemicals and Weight Loss
Broccoli is a good source of sulfur-containing phytochemicals that may prevent cancer. Researchers are beginning to discover that two of these phytochemicals — sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol — may help lower body weight.
Why Is Broccoli Good For Weight Loss?
Broccoli checks all the boxes when it comes to the essential factors for weight loss. They include the following:
Low in Calories
Broccoli is low in calories. 100 grams of broccoli contains approximately 34 calories and a bowl of cooked broccoli contains around 50 to 65 calories. A calorie deficit diet is the key to weight loss. To lose weight it is essential to burn more calories than what you consume. Therefore, foods such as broccoli form a perfect addition to your weight loss diet.
High in Fiber
Broccoli is an excellent source of dietary fiber. 100 grams of broccoli contains around 3.3 grams of fiber. Sufficient intake of fiber is essential while you are on a weight loss diet. Fiber absorbs water and increases the volume of food in the stomach. Thus, it helps keep you full for long periods of time. This curbs your hunger and thus prevents frequent snacking.
Rich in Nutrients
Broccoli is a rich source of vitamin C that promotes fat burn. Vitamin C also helps improve your immunity and benefits your skin and hair. Vitamin K is another nutrient found in broccoli. It helps promote fat and glucose metabolism. It is effective for burning fat, especially around the belly. Broccoli is also rich in carotenoids (a natural plant compound). It promotes fat burn and thus aids in weight loss.
High in Water Content
Broccoli is high in water content. This vegetable is 90% water. It keeps you hydrated and boosts your metabolism. Having a good metabolism is essential for burning calories at a faster rate.
Benefits of Broccoli for Weight Loss
If losing weight is your goal, there are plenty of reasons to add broccoli to your weight-loss diet. Here are 5 advantages of broccoli to promote weight loss and boost your general health.
1. Prevents constipation
Broccoli stops you from getting constipation because of its high-fiber content. Fiber passes through your digestive system undigested. It bulks and softens the stool, making it easier to pass and promoting regular bowel movements.
Cruciferous vegetable consumption can also positively affect the gut microbiota, supporting gut health.
2. Helps manage blood sugar
Broccoli sprouts can improve insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance, and help lower blood sugar. Additionally, dietary broccoli improves glucose and lipid metabolism markers and may be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
3. Improves liver health
Dietary broccoli is good for the liver and may protect against fatty liver disease and liver cancer risk due to powerful plant compounds. However, more human studies are required to confirm the relationship between broccoli and liver health.
4. Supports cells and tissues
This vegetable contains potent antioxidants like vitamin C that support the body’s cells and tissues. Vitamin C content is essential for keeping the cells healthy, supporting the connective tissues, and maintaining the health of blood vessels and bones.
Vitamin C also speeds up the wound healing process as it assists in the production of collagen.
5. helps maintain a healthy nervous system
The B vitamins in broccoli play vital roles in keeping your nervous system healthy. Vitamin B is an essential nutrient that supports nerve function and nerve regeneration.
The sulforaphane in broccoli, cauliflower, and other vegetables may have therapeutic effects for disorders affecting the central nervous system.
What Are the Other Health Benefits of Broccoli?
- Improves Heart Health:
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli improves blood flow and boosts your heart health. Regular consumption of broccoli helps relax your blood vessels and thus helps keep your blood pressure in check.
- Boosts Eyesight:
Lutein and zeaxanthin present in broccoli help in boosting your eyesight. It prevents age-related degeneration of the retina.
- Prevents Cancer:
Broccoli is high in antioxidants and thus helps prevent cell damage. Therefore, it helps prevent the formation of cancer cells.
- Reduces Inflammation:
The antioxidant effects of sulforaphane present in broccoli help in reducing inflammation in the body.
How to Eat Broccoli for Weight Loss?
Broccoli can be added to your diet in different ways.
- They can be added to your soups or salads to bring a tasty twist to them.
- Boiled broccolis can be added to sandwiches and pasta.
- You can also make broccoli stuffed chapatis or rotis, making them more nutritious.
- Stir-fried broccoli can be a tasty and nutritious snack that you can consume between meals.
What is the Best Time to Have Broccoli?
Broccoli is high in insoluble fiber and hence it takes a longer time to digest. It is advisable to have broccoli for breakfast or for lunch so that your body gets enough time to digest it.
For weight loss, it would be apt to consume broccoli 2 to 3 times a week. You can aim at consuming 400 grams of broccoli in a week (about 2 medium florets).
Risks of Overconsumption of Broccoli for Weight Loss
Though broccoli is a nutritious vegetable, you should avoid its overconsumption to prevent certain unwanted side effects. Let’s take a look at the risks of overconsumption of broccoli:
- Broccoli when consumed in high quantities can affect the functioning of your thyroid gland.
- Variations in thyroid hormone levels can lead to symptoms such as weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, and mood changes.
- It can cause issues with bowel movements and lead to constipation.
- It can also cause gastric issues and bloating.
Is Broccoli Good for Weight Loss?
Broccoli can be an excellent diet aid for weight loss as it is a nutrient-dense vegetable. It is low in calories and high in dietary fiber. This healthy food meets the ideal criteria for a weight-loss diet plan because it keeps you feeling full for an extended period without racking up your daily calorie count.
Broccoli is rich in fiber, an essential nutrient for maintaining gut health and regulating blood sugar levels. As dietary fiber passes through the body undigested, it slows digestion, contributing to satiety by keeping you full on fewer calories.
It is a non-starchy, low-calorie vegetable that you can enjoy without worrying about how many calories you’re taking in.
One cup of raw broccoli has less than 30 calories, and a cup of cooked broccoli has 54 calories. Zero-calorie foods are perfect for weight loss because they help you create a caloric deficit without leaving you hungry.
Broccoli is also loaded with phytochemicals—plant compounds that may enhance fat loss, decrease appetite, and reduce body weight.
Sulforaphane, in particular, may have fat-burning properties as it causes fat cells to break down. The sulforaphane present in broccoli sprouts is associated with reduced visceral fat. Losing belly fat is critical for good health as it increases your risk of major health problems.
So, whether you want to lose 5 pounds or several, you can boost your success by consuming broccoli as part of a balanced diet.
In addition to fiber, broccoli has a fair amount of protein. Protein is another important macronutrient for weight loss as it also contributes to satiety while helping you lose fat without losing muscle.
It’s also an excellent source of calcium. A higher calcium intake may improve metabolic health and aid fat loss by reducing the growth of new fat cells and encouraging the breakdown of stored fat.
Broccoli has an abundance of vitamin C. Vitamin C has antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties that may help manage metabolic syndrome.
If you want to lose weight on keto, you don’t need to rule out the broccoli. Although low in fats, broccoli is a staple food on the keto diet because it is low in net carbs. You can safely eat broccoli to help you stay in ketosis.
How Much Broccoli to Eat per Day?
How much broccoli you should eat depends on your personal needs and preferences. Most adults require at least two and a half cups of vegetables per day, including cruciferous vegetables.
Eating one cup of broccoli daily will make up almost half of your recommended daily allowance. So, you may want to meet your daily intake with only broccoli or consume a smaller portion along with other vegetables to ensure variety.
Is It Good to Eat Broccoli Every Day?
Yes, consuming broccoli daily as part of a balanced diet can positively affect your health. It contains plenty of soluble fiber to help you meet your daily fiber intake and lots of vitamins and minerals to help you lose weight and keep healthy.
As with any food, you should balance your intake of broccoli with other healthy foods.
You shouldn’t excessively consume one vegetable as you may miss other essential nutrients. Due to the high fiber content, eating too much broccoli can cause gas and bloating. Eat a healthy dose of broccoli to reap the benefits without upsetting your stomach.