Is Broccoli Good for Diabetes?- HealthifyMe


Broccoli, believed to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean, is a cruciferous vegetable cultivated for thousands of years. It belongs to the same family as cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. With 3 grams of fibre per cup of cooked broccoli, it is a good source of fibre and vitamins C, K, A, and folate. It also contains antioxidants that may aid in protecting against chronic diseases. 

Consuming broccoli may specifically benefit those with diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels, improving insulin sensitivity, and reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications.

Broccoli is a well-known vegetable known for its numerous health benefits, particularly for people with diabetes, as it helps regulate blood sugar levels and can improve overall health. Thus, understanding the role of broccoli in diabetes is a vital part of managing the condition.

This article explores the connection between broccoli and diabetes. It will examine the nutritional benefits of broccoli, its glycemic index, and the effect of broccoli consumption on blood sugar levels. It also discusses the advantages of broccoli for people with diabetes and presents some Indian recipes that one can use in a diabetes-friendly diet.

Broccoli: The Nutritional Overview

Broccoli is a nutrient-rich veggie that is low in calories yet packed with vitamins and minerals. It is especially rich in vitamins C, K, and A. Additionally, it is a good source of dietary fibre, which can assist in maintaining blood sugar and improving general well-being. Furthermore, broccoli boasts antioxidants and phytochemicals. These nutrients have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.

According to the USDA, one hundred grams of broccoli contains the following nutrients.

  • Energy: 39kCal
  • Carbohydrate: 6.27g 
  • Protein: 2.57g
  • Total Fat: 0.34g
  • Dietary Fibre: 2.4g 
  • Vitamin C: 91.3mg
  • Vitamin A: 8µg
  • Folate: 65µg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.191mg
  • Beta Carotene: 93µg
  • Lutein + Zeaxanthin: 745µg
  • Vitamin K: 102µg

The HealthifyMe Note

Many health coaches highly recommend eating raw broccoli due to its high nutritional content. It is an excellent source of antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals. In addition, it provides dietary fibre, protein, and essential vitamins such as A, C, and E, which are crucial for a healthy diet.

Glycemic Index of Broccoli

The glycemic index (GI) is a scale used to measure how quickly a food increases glucose levels in the blood. For example, broccoli has a low glycemic index, which indicates that the body absorbs it gradually. 

Data shows that the glycemic index of cooked broccoli is 45. As a result, it does not lead to an abrupt rise in blood sugar levels. Conversely, foods with a high GI are absorbed rapidly and produce a drastic, sudden boost in blood sugar levels. In contrast, those with a low GI digest slowly, resulting in a slower, more gradual elevation of glucose levels.

Eating low-GI foods, like broccoli, has also been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. A study found that people who ate a diet rich in low-GI foods had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate a diet filled with high-GI foods.

Broccoli and Diabetes: Understanding the Relationship

Studies have indicated that broccoli can be beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels for those with diabetes. One study, featured by the American Institute for Cancer Research, demonstrated that consuming broccoli extract can significantly reduce blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. Furthermore, a study revealed that broccoli sprout extract improved insulin sensitivity and decreased blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetic individuals.

Eating broccoli benefits people with diabetes as it has a low glycemic index (GI). That means it has a minimal effect on blood sugar. Furthermore, broccoli is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can assist in regulating blood sugar levels. For instance, broccoli is rich in chromium, an essential mineral for blood sugar control. Additionally, sulforaphane, a compound in broccoli, can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.

Results of studies have suggested that if individuals with type 2 diabetes consume broccoli florets for 12 weeks, insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels may improve. Additionally, regularly eating broccoli may even reduce the risk of obesity, which is often a contributing factor to diabetes. However, it is crucial to speak with a healthcare professional before adding broccoli to your diet to ensure it is safe.

Benefit for Diabetics

Glycemic Index

Broccoli is an excellent choice for people with diabetes, as it has a low glycemic index. It means that the body absorbs it slowly. As a result, it helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. It is especially beneficial for people with diabetes, who need to monitor their sugar levels carefully.

Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Broccoli is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help regulate blood sugar levels. For example, chromium, an essential mineral for blood sugar control, is high in broccoli. This mineral helps the body process insulin more efficiently, which can help to reduce blood sugar levels. Additionally, it contains sulforaphane, a compound that can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.

Reducing the Risk of Obesity

Eating broccoli could potentially lower the risk of diabetes by preventing obesity, a significant contributing factor. Consuming broccoli may help reduce the chances of becoming obese and consequently reduce the risk of diabetes.

Dietary Fibre

Not only does broccoli help to control blood sugar levels, but it is also an excellent source of dietary fibre. The fibre helps to slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, aiding in the regulation of blood sugar. Moreover, it aids digestion and keeps you feeling full and satiated.

Other Benefits

People with diabetes can benefit from incorporating broccoli into their diets because it can regulate blood sugar levels. It also has other health-promoting qualities. 

Regular consumption of broccoli has the potential to provide health benefits that are beneficial for those with diabetes. Vitamin K, which helps maintain healthy bones, is present in broccoli and has been linked to increased insulin sensitivity, potentially reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Furthermore, consuming broccoli has been linked to a lower risk of diabetic retinopathy, a severe complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness. Therefore, people with diabetes need to include this nutrient-dense vegetable in their diets to improve their overall health.

Ways to Use Broccoli for Diabetes

One can use broccoli in various Indian recipes to make them diabetes-friendly. 

Broccoli Paratha

One popular recipe is a flatbread containing broccoli and spices. 

  • To create broccoli paratha, a delicious flatbread, finely chop broccoli and mix it with whole wheat flour, a variety of spices, and a pinch of salt and cracked pepper. 
  • Next, roll out the dough and cook it on a hot grill. This recipe is popular and sure to please!

Broccoli and Tomato Stir Fry

Craving something tasty and healthy? Try this broccoli and tomato stir-fry! 

  • Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and add finely chopped broccoli and tomatoes. 
  • Cook until the veggies are tender, and season with cumin, coriander, and turmeric for extra flavour. 

This dish is full of vitamins and fibre and is very low in calories, making it an ideal dish for people with diabetes. Enjoy!

Other Recipes

One can include broccoli in diabetes-friendly diets in soups and curries, such as broccoli and lentil soup or broccoli and chickpea curry. These dishes are low in calories but high in fibre and nutrients, making them a beneficial choice.

Conclusion

In conclusion, broccoli is an excellent food for people with diabetes. Its low caloric content, the abundance of vitamins and minerals, and low glycemic index make it an ideal choice for managing blood sugar levels. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that broccoli can help regulate blood sugar, improve overall health, and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications. 

People with diabetes can incorporate broccoli into Indian recipes such as parathas, stir-fries, soups and curries to enjoy tasty yet nutritious meals. People with diabetes must consult their healthcare provider before making significant diet changes. A healthy diet should include various nutrient-dense foods and regular physical activity to ensure overall well-being. One can also talk to a HealthifyMe nutritionist to get a customised diet plan to regulate blood sugar levels.

The Research Sources

1. The U S Department of Agriculture

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/747447/nutrients

2. Glycemic Index Guide

https://glycemic-index.net/broccoli-cooked/

3. Bahadoran Z, Tohidi M, Nazeri P, Mehran M, Azizi F, Mirmiran P. Effect of broccoli sprouts on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Nov;63(7):767-71. Doi: 10.3109/09637486.2012.665043. Epub 2012 Apr 26. PMID: 22537070.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22537070/

4. American Institute of Cancer Research

https://www.aicr.org/resources/blog/broccoli-extract-may-lower-blood-sugar-among-some-with-diabetes-study-finds/

5. Bahadoran Z, Tohidi M, Nazeri P, Mehran M, Azizi F, Mirmiran P. Effect of broccoli sprouts on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Nov;63(7):767-71. Doi: 10.3109/09637486.2012.665043. Epub 2012 Apr 26. PMID: 22537070.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22537070/

6. Zandani G, Anavi-Cohen S, Tsybina-Shimshilashvili N, Sela N, Nyska A, Madar Z. Broccoli Florets Supplementation Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Alters Gut Microbiome Population-A Steatosis Mice Model Induced by High-Fat Diet. Front Nutr. 2021 Jul 28;8:680241. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.680241. PMID: 34395490; PMCID: PMC8355420.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8355420/

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