Few people will list broccoli on their list of favourite foods, but this green vegetable, which comes from the cabbage family, is a great addition to meals, especially when you have diabetes. In fact, given the health benefits around broccoli and diabetes, it may be time to start adding more of this green super veggie to your daily diet.
Why is broccoli good for you?
If ever there was a power food, broccoli is it. Broccoli is a great source of vitamins K and C. In fact, one serving of broccoli has twice as much vitamin C as an orange.
It also contains plenty of potassium, fibre and folate, which is essential in producing and maintaining your body’s cells.
Furthermore, eating broccoli helps detoxify the body by helping to eliminate unwanted, potentially harmful chemicals. Broccoli may lower your risk of many chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Broccoli has even been linked to stronger bones and teeth, improved brain health and better-looking skin.
But it doesn’t end there! Broccoli also improves digestion and has been shown to enhance liver health.
Can broccoli help treat or prevent diabetes?
When it comes to the health benefits of broccoli and diabetes, this cruciferous vegetable strikes again.
Sulphoraphane, a chemical in broccoli, which is responsible for the anti-cancer and heart protective effects discussed above, may also play an important role in diabetes by helping to lower your blood sugar. In a recent study of obese people with type 2 diabetes, a broccoli extract containing sulforaphane helped to reduce stubbornly high blood sugar levels.
Given that you’re at higher risk of developing heart disease when you have diabetes, the sulforaphane in broccoli may be beneficial to both your diabetes, and your heart!
This low calorie, fat-free and fibre-rich vegetable is also low on the glycemic index (GI); therefore, it won’t have a large effect on your blood sugar levels. Find out more about low GI foods and why they are good for diabetes here.
How can I put more broccoli into my diet?
To get the most nutrients out of your broccoli, it is best to eat it raw! If you do need to cook it, opt for steaming or blanching broccoli in boiling water only until crunchy so you can still reap the benefits of broccoli’s sulphoraphane.
Here are some other ways to sneak more broccoli into your diet when you have diabetes:
- Add raw broccoli chunks to salads
- Blend broccoli into your morning smoothie or afternoon soup
- Add it to your favorite tomato sauce
- Make it into a hot dip to complement your favorite crackers
- Grill it on the barbecue or roast it the oven for a unique flavour
- Roast it in the oven, for a great side dish with your dinner
- Eat it as a snack like you would a bowl of chips: similar satisfying crunch but so much better for you.
The bottom line is broccoli and diabetes is a winning combination. Even if you’re not a fan, this is one vegetable worth revisiting when you have diabetes.
Find more diabetes “super foods” here.