Health & Fitness

There Are 8 Surprising Side Effects Of Eating Broccoli, According To Science

The health benefits of broccoli are so great that it’s hard to find a negative comment. As a side dish, they work well with just about anything. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They’re great for your heart, brain, bones, immune system, and gut health.  It is definitely worth overcoming any unpleasant side effects of broccoli (some of which we detail below) rather than avoiding these mini “trees” because they offer many surprising benefits.

You May Feel Gassy After Eating Broccoli

If you experience flatulence in a car with the windows down while eating raw broccoli, it will no longer be a secret: flatulence is a secret side effect of broccoli, especially raw broccoli.

A report in the journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology describes in great detail the gaseous symptoms caused by broccoli and the various triggers in detail. As with its cruciferous cousins, kale, cauliflower, and cabbage, broccoli is one of the most prolific gas-producing vegetables. But do you know why? Your small intestine is full of raffinose, a sugar made up of three saccharides —galactose, glucose, and fructose — that goes undigested until the bacteria in your large intestine ferment it, releasing methane. As well as glucosinolates, this high-fiber veggie contains sulfur compounds that are broken down by the gut into hydrogen sulfide, a rotten egg-smelling gas.

When you cook broccoli, you jumpstart the digestion process that occurs in your gut, which can reduce the symptoms of gassiness. The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders recommends slowly adding more fiber to your diet to ease symptoms as time goes on.

The Thyroid Can Be Affected By Broccoli

As a goitrogen, broccoli falls into this category. As Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD, a member of our Medical Expert Board, explained in The #1 Worst Food for Your Thyroid, goitrogens contain compounds called ‘goitrin,’ which can interfere with the synthesis of thyroid hormones when combined with an iodine deficiency. Fortunately, heating these vegetables, including cauliflower and cabbage, mitigates this effect. According to Hembree, heating cruciferous vegetables removes their goitrogenic activity. You can see at the table that broccoli’s health benefits far outweigh its dangers.

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The Consumption Of Broccoli May Reduce Inflammation

As a result of broccoli consumption, CRP levels in the blood, a marker of inflammation, seem to be reduced. Based on the results of a CRP blood test, your doctor can determine your risk of coronary artery disease, or narrowed arteries. Among young male smokers, an intervention based on broccoli was evaluated in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. Smokers who consumed a typical 250-gram serving of broccoli per day reduced their plasma CRP levels by 48% on average over 10 days and increased their folate and lutein levels by 17% and 29%, respectively.

Blood Vessel Disease May Be Prevented By Broccoli

Your arteries and veins may be kept clear with broccoli and its buddy, Brussels sprouts. In the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that higher consumption of these and other cruciferous vegetables was associated with less extensive blood vessel disease in older Australian women.

There was a lower risk of extensive structural blood disease in women who ate the most broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Your Liver May Be Protected From Fatty Liver Disease If You Eat Broccoli

It doesn’t matter if you’re a hepatologist or not, you can see that broccoli florets are far healthier than pepperoni pizza or Twizzlers. In fact, it’s wise to keep in mind that, if you follow the standard Western diet, which is high in saturated fats and sugars, you are more prone to developing what’s known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which may lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis.

The chances are good that you will consume fewer sugary, fatty foods that can damage your liver if you eat broccoli. As a rodent study in The Journal of Nutrition revealed, broccoli may have more benefits than simply substituting unhealthy foods for good: After receiving broccoli supplementation for six months, mice fed a diet mimicking a fatty, sugary human diet had lower triglycerides in their livers and a lower risk of liver cancer.

Cancer Risk May Be Reduced By Broccoli

The National Cancer Institute reports that many rodent and human studies link cruciferous vegetables to a lower risk of prostate, colon, lung, and breast cancer.

Sharpen Your Brain With Broccoli Spears

One of the lesser-known antioxidants is vitamin K, which is found in green vegetables, but it’s important to learn about it. Researchers found that vitamin K intake was associated with cognitive function in people 65 and older, according to a 2015 study in Nutrients. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur compounds that may provide antioxidant protection against dementia and stroke, according to other studies.

The Benefits Of Broccoli May Extend Your Life Span

In a 30-calorie serving of broccoli, you will get about three grams of dietary fiber, which will help you meet your daily fiber goal of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. People who ate more fiber had a 15% to 30% lower risk of death from all causes, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer, according to a meta-analysis published in The Lancet.

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