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One Major Side Effect of Eating Broccoli, Says Dietitian

This popular vegetable could be the key to lowering your risk of chronic disease.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Whether you're sauteing it as a side or using it as a topping on your baked potato, broccoli is among the most popular vegetables in the U.S., with the average U.S. resident consuming approximately 7.1 pounds of fresh broccoli every year. However, it's not just your taste buds that may benefit from adding broccoli to your favorite recipes.

Dietitian Carrie Gabriel, MS, RDN, owner and founder of Steps to Nutrition, says that broccoli contains compounds that, by eating it, may help reduce your risk of cancer.

When you eat broccoli, "You receive a variety of antioxidants and glucosinolates. These compounds can aid in disease prevention," explains Gabriel. "Glucosinolates are mainly found in brassica plants such as broccoli and have anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties," she adds.

What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Broccoli

Research indicates that broccoli may be particularly effective at reducing your risk of digestive cancers. A 2020 study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found a link between greater ingestion of cruciferous vegetables and a lower risk of stomach cancer, while a 2013 meta-analysis published in the Annals of Oncology found that brassica vegetables, in particular, were associated with a lower risk of colon cancer among study subjects.

Beyond its cancer-preventing properties, broccoli may also help improve the overall health of your digestive tract on a day-to-day basis.

young woman eating broccoli
Shutterstock / Lady BlackCat

"When you ingest broccoli, you are getting around 10% of your recommended daily fiber intake [per cup]," says Gabriel. "Fiber helps support a healthy digestive system and keeps our bowels functioning properly."

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Cancer Prevention found that not only did broccoli consumption help normalize bowel habits among a group of young adults with constipation, researchers conducting the study speculated that the soluble fiber in broccoli may also help promote a favorable balance of gut bacteria by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria while reducing the amount of potentially harmful bacteria in the gut. So, if you're still pondering a side to serve with dinner tonight, broccoli might just be your best bet.

For more great additions to your diet, check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now, and for the latest healthy living news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah
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