Although all veggies are good for your health and liver, broccoli is one of the best you can eat for your liver health! Care for your liver health with this versatile veggie.
We’re all well aware of our liver, but many of us don’t know much about it. Chances are you’ve heard of the association between drinking alcohol and your liver health, but there is much more to it than just processing the happy hour drinks you consume!
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the liver actually serves over 500 functions in the body. The main function, that many people know of, is that the liver produces bile, which helps flush out toxins. The liver also helps break down fats in order to aid in digestion, helps with the production of cholesterol and management of excess glucose, and helps regulate and manage blood clotting.
As you can see, your liver is incredibly important, which may have many of us asking, “how can we keep our liver healthy?” One of the main ways you can care for your liver health is through your diet. Incorporating fiber-heavy foods like whole grains and legumes, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and veggies, while limiting your consumption of added sugars, alcohol, and fried foods, can be a great way to eat for a healthy liver.
If you’re looking to incorporate some liver-healthy foods into your diet, vegetables are a great place to start. Although all veggies are good for your health and liver, broccoli is one of the best you can eat for your liver health!
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the Brassica genus of plants. It’s a type of flower and has a thick, central stalk with grayish-green leaves and green florets (there are some purple varieties). It is versatile and easy to find in most grocery stores.
Broccoli is considered to be one of the most nutritious vegetables and, when cooked properly, it can really be a delicious addition to any meal plan.
Broccoli Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one cup (91g) of raw, chopped broccoli.
One cup of raw, chopped broccoli contains only 31 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and very little sugar (1.5 grams). More than a third of the carbohydrates found in broccoli come from fiber (2.4 grams), making it a filling, heart-healthy food choice.
The glycemic index (GI) for broccoli is 10. The glycemic index is an estimate of how a food affects your blood sugar levels. Broccoli is a low GI food, which means that it has a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.
Broccoli has only a trace amount of fat and is cholesterol-free. It does, however, contain a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Consuming two cups of broccoli delivers nearly 0.5 grams of this anti-inflammatory fatty acid.2
For a vegetable, broccoli has a significant amount of protein, 2.5 grams per one-cup serving. But you still should include other protein sources in your diet to meet your daily needs.
Vitamins and Minerals
Broccoli is bursting with vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of immune-boosting vitamin C, providing over 81mg, or about 135% of your daily needs. It is also an excellent source of vitamin K, important in bone health and wound healing. You’ll consume 116% of your daily recommended intake in a one-cup serving of broccoli. It’s also a very good source of the B vitamin folate, and a good source of vitamin A, manganese, potassium, and other B vitamins.
Minerals in broccoli include manganese, potassium, and phosphorus.
2. Broccoli: The best vegetable for your liver
What is it about broccoli that makes it so healthy for your liver? It’s all in the compounds this delicious vegetable contains.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that can support liver health with its natural compounds, including Diindolylmethane and glucoraphanin.
Compounds like these found in broccoli have been linked to having anti-cancer properties and supporting the natural detoxification process the liver offers.
Diindolylmethane and glucoraphanin are compounds found not only in broccoli but in most cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, kale, and cabbage as well. Their antioxidant activity is helpful in caring for your liver health and can contribute to the overall health of your body as well.
3. Some vegetables are good for your liver
Beets are a high-antioxidant vegetable that contain important elements for liver health, such as: fiber, folate and pectin. Pectin can also help to clean the toxins that have been removed from the liver, allowing them to be flushed out of the system instead of reabsorbed by the body. Several rat studies by The National Center for Biotechnology have shown that beetroot juice reduces oxidative damage and inflammation in the liver, as well as increases natural detoxification enzymes.
Carrots are high in carotenoids and beta-carotene which your body converts into vitamin A. Carotenoids are fat-soluble, so when you eat a carrot, they stimulate bile to flow and remove waste. A study by Hsiang-Chi Peng at The School of Pharmacy, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan using rats revealed that beta-carotene may prevent liver damage caused by alcohol.
Bitter leafy salad greens
Bitter leafy greens such as dandelion, chicory, endive, and rocket are great for promoting liver health. The bitterness of these foods helps to stimulate bile flow within the liver which powers detox.