Is Broccoli Good for Diabetes?

Is broccoli good for diabetes? Overview

Type 2 diabetes is the world’s fastest growing disease. According to WHO today more than 400 million are already suffering from this chronic condition.

When diagnosed with diabetes in order to get the blood sugar levels under control and prevent development of long-term complications first thing you do is change your diet, lose extra weight and exercise more – in fact these are first-line management options prescribed by physicians in case of pre-diabetes and diabetes. In severe cases, however, treatment with blood sugar-lowering drugs or sometimes even with insulin is necessary.

How including broccoli in your diet affects diabetes?

Is Broccoli Good for Diabetes - Including broccoli in your diet
Is Broccoli Good for Diabetes – Including broccoli in your diet

Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetable on earth. The beneficial properties of broccoli include a positive impact on digestion, cardiovascular, immune systems, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects. What’s more, broccoli is relatively low in sodium and calories and contains no fat at all.

Nutritional Value of broccoli

100 grams of broccoli contain:

  • Total Fat – 0.4 grams
  • Cholesterol – 0 milligrams
  • Sodium – 33 milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrates – 7.2grams

Dietary Fiber – 3.3g

Sugars – 1.4g

  • Protein – 2.4 grams
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Potassium – 293 milligrams
  • Vitamin A – 31 %
  • Vitamin C – 108 %
  • Calcium –  3.1%
  • Iron – 3,7 %

Reasons why broccoli is “superfood” for people with diabetes type 2


Low glycemic index

Glycemic index for broccoli is just 4, compared to other vegetables and fruits this is considered really low, meaning that broccolis can be included in every meal without worrying about post-meal blood sugar spikes.

Weight-loss friendly

100 grams of broccoli has just 35 calories and contains no fat at all, which makes it a great food to include in weight loss meals.

In addition, it speeds up the metabolism and due to its potassium and sodium content it normalizes the water-salt balance in the body. The high water and fiber content of broccoli activates digestion, creates a feeling of fullness and delays the secretion of the hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for causing hunger.

Since maintaining a normal BMI is essential for management of diabetes, including this extremely diet-friendly vegetable in your daily meals without limit, will do you a  great favor for weight-loss.

Rich source of fiber

Broccoli contains 3,3 grams of fiber per 100 grams of product. Fiber aids in digestion, plays a key role in preventing blood sugar spikes in addition protects against development of colon cancer.

However, some caution is advised with sensitive digestion. Because larger amounts can cause abdominal pain or gas.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C – same as ascorbic acid is a powerful antioxidant which helps strengthen immune system, fight against bacterial or viral infections, for which diabetics are more vulnerable to and also defend against free radical damage.

There is a new study conducted by Deakin University, claiming that consuming about 500mg of Vitamin C a day can help lower post-prandial blood sugar levels and regulate blood pressure in type 2 diabetics, although bigger and high-quality trials are needed to confirm clinically beneficial findings before recommending daily supplementation of vitamin C for management of diabetes, before that taking this vitamin daily in form of broccoli can show off its benefits in safe way.

Low in carbohydrates

Nearly all the carbohydrates that are found in broccoli are in fiber form which are great for digestion, it’s nearly impossible to get blood sugar spikes from consuming broccoli.

Omega 3 fatty acids

If you’re not a fan of seafood or nuts, including broccoli in your is a great way to fill up on omega 3 fatty acids. One cup of cooked broccoli contains about 186 milligrams of omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to aid in preventing long-term complications for diabetes. They reduce triglyceride level and help control blood sugar levels.

The magical compound – Sulforaphane

Sulforaphane – is an active plant ingredient found in cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kale, cabbage,  which has several beneficial properties for health.

It is known that diabetes increases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease by about five times, since blood vessels are severely affected by chronically high blood glucose levels. Sulforaphane in broccoli stimulates the body to produce enzymes that protect the circulatory system and reduce the number of molecules that destroy vascular cells.

What’s more, in a laboratory animal study it was found that the plant active ingredient sulforaphane can stop increased glucose production in the liver and can even turn down expression of genes associated with symptoms of type 2 diabetes in disease rats. Although the research team advises against self-treatment with high doses of broccoli extract since there is not enough evidence.

Besides that sulforaphane is known to be anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and can aid in detoxification.

Improves vision

People with diabetes are known to be susceptible to eye-sight problems in early life because of microvascular changes. After about 15 years with disease, 25% of type 2 diabetic patients develop diabetic retinopathy which leads to visual impairment and even blindness.

A diet rich in broccoli improves vision. This is due to its constituent carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin, which accumulate in the retina. According to a study they improve the contrast and sensitivity of the eyes to bright light, as well as increase visual acuity.

In addition, lutein helps absorb harmful blue light from gadget screens and neutralizes the effects of free radicals that damage the retina. It is lutein that gives broccoli its dark green color. Regular consumption of this vegetable prevents cataracts and reduces the risk of age-related vision loss.

To sum up

These ” tiny trees” bring tons of benefits for not only those with diabetes but everyone. Broccoli is low in calories and high in fiber. The “vegetable superstar” also provides many important vitamins and minerals. It also contains the so-called glucosinolate – sulforaphane which is an ingredient known for its numerous health benefits such as cancer prevention, defense against inflammation and possible anti-diabetic effects.

Another great advantage of broccoli is that it’s very affordable, easy to make, you can boil, steam and bake them add them into your salads or soups, or make it into a smoothie to enjoy on lunch. It goes great as a side dish with nearly all meals.  A short cooking time is recommended in order to optimally preserve the all vitamins and flavour. Considering all this, broccoli is deemed to be one of most diabetes-friendly foods.


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See Also

Is Spinach Good for Diabetes

Is Kale Good for Diabetes