Broccoli is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that help prevent damage from free radicals. Broccoli helps recharge your immune system and is a useful ally in preventing diabetes and complications like cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin C in broccoli protects against free radical damage. Our bodies can’t manufacture vitamin C, so we must get it from the food we eat. One cup of broccoli delivers about 116 milligrams of this powerful antioxidant, almost twice the minimum recommended daily amount (RDA) for adults. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, even in small amounts, vitamin C can protect against the damage done by free radicals and oxidative stress that results from exposure to pollution, toxins and an unhealthy diet. The chronic inflammation associated with oxidative stress can lead directly to diabetes, cardiovascular disease or stroke. Vitamin C might also help regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
Chromium in broccoli helps lower your blood sugar. Broccoli is a great source of the trace mineral chromium, used to manufacture the glucose tolerance factor (GTF), which helps break down blood sugar. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the chromium in broccoli helps lower your blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides, which greatly reduces your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Chromium aids in the metabolism of glucose by re-sensitizing the insulin receptors on the surface of every cell. Many Americans are chromium deficient because a diet heavy in refined carbohydrates such as white sugar and white flour is not only low in chromium but also depletes chromium from your body.
Fiber in broccoli helps reduce bad cholesterol. Broccoli is loaded with dietary fiber, the roughage that makes you feel full without gaining weight. Foods that are high in fiber reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by mediating blood sugar levels in the body, thereby cutting your risk of developing diabetes or cardiovascular disease. High-fiber foods such as broccoli also support weight loss, which helps to lower insulin resistance. The less resistant cells are to insulin, the more insulin can do its job of ushering glucose into your body’s cells.
Beta-carotene in broccoli protects your eyes. Broccoli is rich in beta-carotene, which your body uses to make Vitamin A, another powerful antioxidant that is necessary for healthy eyes — a particular concern for people with diabetes, who are at risk of developing retinopathy. When selecting broccoli, choose plants with closely packed heads and dark-colored stalks that indicate high beta-carotene content. Don’t forget to eat the stems and leaves. The stems are not only sweet and mild-flavored, they’re much higher in fiber than the broccoli florets, and the leaves are the richest source of beta-carotene.
Don’t overcook broccoli. Preserve broccoli’s diabetes healing power by eating it raw, lightly steamed or sautéed. Overcooking destroys its nutrients. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and perhaps some coarse unprocessed sea salt. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for a crunchy treat.
Health-e-Solutions comment: The health benefits of broccoli make it a must in the diabetic-alkaline lifestyle. We have grown to love broccoli for all the reasons listed above, and because it tastes great! It is very low-glycemic and raw or lightly cooked it will help balance alkalinity.
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