Can Broccoli Help Inflammation?


In this post, I’ll be answering whether broccoli can help with inflammation.

And I’ll give you information about inflammation and when you’re likely to experience it. 

Ok, so let’s get started.  

Let me start by answering your question…  


Can broccoli reduce inflammation?

The answer is yes. 

Broccoli can indeed reduce inflammation! 

Now should you be eating broccoli for breakfast, lunch and dinner? 



A lot of anything isn’t the best solution!  

But is this a vegetable you should be including in your diet?  


And further on in this post, I’ll explain the reason why broccoli is an excellent addition to your diet. 

And why it’s excellent at reducing inflammation!


But before we move on to talk more about broccoli, let me talk to you about inflammation!!


What is inflammation?

So you’re here asking about broccoli and inflammation for a particular reason.


You’re looking at broccoli as a way of reducing pain or other inflammatory symptoms. 

So what is inflammation? 

And why do people experience it?


Let’s firstly look at what it is. 


What is inflammation?

Inflammation is your body’s protection mode.  

It’s produced when your body is trying its best to protect you. 

Your body is constantly protecting you from harmful substances.  

You have a cold. 


Because your immune system is trying to get rid of harmful substances.  

To get rid of the substances your body has to go into inflammation mode.


Why do people experience inflammation?

A cold is an inflammatory response caused by your immune system. 

So when you have a cold you feel dreadful for a few days. 

And it’s annoying, isn’t it?.   

But you must be thankful for it!

Your immune system is working hard to remove harmful substances from your body.  

Your immune system is looking after you!

And it does this by inflicting nasty symptoms that make you feel dreadful for a few days. 

These inflammatory symptoms can be headaches or a runny nose when you have a cold.  

And these symptoms are in response to the hard work of removing substances from your body. 

Now, this doesn’t just happen with a cold. 

For some people, this happens due to health conditions. 

And can happen on a daily basis!


Is inflammation always a good thing?

So we’ve looked at the good side of inflammation.  But for people with health conditions, inflammation is not so helpful.  

Some people produce inflammation when there are no nasty substances to be removed. 

This can be the case for sufferers of certain health conditions.  

For these people, steps are needed to reduce the immune system turning on inflammation.

Can you reduce inflammation with food?

So at this point, you have an understanding of inflammation and why your body does it. So how can you reduce inflammation, if it’s not wanted?  

Well, there are lots of activities you can do to reduce inflammation.  

Reducing inflammation puts your body into anti-inflammatory mode.  

Medications, exercising or managing stress levels are anti-inflammatory activities.

And a huge way of doing this is by eating foods that are classed as being anti-inflammatory.


How is broccoli helpful with reducing inflammation?

So what about broccoli?

Well, if you’re looking for a fantastic anti-inflammatory vegetable. Then broccoli is a good choice! 

It’s a fantastic vegetable to have in your life!

Especially for reducing inflammation!

And the reason why broccoli is helpful is due to a substance called sulforaphane.

What is sulforaphane?


Sulforaphane is a substance found in broccoli.

It works by helping the body to produce substances that detox the body.

This helps to boost your immune system with natural sources.  This gives your immune system a rest from switching on inflammation.

In order for sulforaphane to be activated a sulphur-containing substance is required. 

This substance is called glucoraphanin and it needs an enzyme called myrosinase. 

Sulforaphane is of no use without these two substances.


The downside

Now the downside is that this enzyme is only released when the plant is damaged.  So cutting, chopping and chewing broccoli is the best way to release the myrosinase enzyme.  


And there’s an even better way of releasing this anti-inflammatory enhancing substance.  


This better way is also a way of getting higher amounts of sulforaphane. And this way gives you high amounts of the myrosinase enzyme.

This takes some getting used to!

Unfortunately, this better way can take some getting used to.


Ready for what it is?




Raw broccoli!


In studies, it has been shown that eating broccoli in its raw state is more likely to absorb sulforaphane into our blood and urine. 

A study showed that it was 37% more available in its raw state and only 3.4% when it was cooked. [1]


So going raw is the best option! 


But if going raw is a step too far for you, then steaming could be the next best thing.  


When steaming you’re just heating for 2 to 3 minutes.


And steaming is much better than boiling.  Boiling higher than 140 degrees celsius causes a loss of glucosinolates. 

Remember glucosinolates are needed to activate sulforaphane. 

And not only that, boiling at high temperatures reduces vitamins and minerals. 



Is sulforaphane only in broccoli?

So are you only limited to getting sulforaphane from broccoli?


Absolutely not!

Sulforaphane is found in vegetables that are classed as cruciferous or brassica vegetables.  These are your green leafy vegetables.  

These are vegetables such as


      • Cauliflower
      • Collard greens
      • Spring greens
      • Kale
      • Brussels sprouts
      • Cabbage, both red and white varieties
      • Bok choy
      • Chinese cabbage
      • Watercress
      • Rocket


When broccoli might not be advisable.

Now, this post has been highlighting the benefits of adding broccoli into the diet. 

But there are times when broccoli and the cruciferous family of vegetables aren’t advisable!

This is the case for people who suffer from diseases associated with the thyroid gland.

These are diseases involving the production of low thyroid hormones.  Diseases like hypothyroid (low thyroid) or sufferers of Hashimoto’s disease.  

When it comes to thyroid diseases broccoli might interfere with the thyroid. 

It does so by blocking the production of thyroid hormones due to substances called goitrogens.

So in this circumstance, it’s advisable to cook broccoli at a high temperature instead of having it raw! 

Or it might be best to have a break from eating high amounts of goitrogen foods like broccoli.



So if you’re looking for a vegetable that is helpful for inflammation.  Broccoli is the way to go!  

This isn’t to say that you should be chomping on broccoli all day long.

Oh no, you must explore other vegetables!

Look at adding other vegetables that are in the brassica family. 

These will also provide the anti-inflammatory benefits of sulforaphane.



Other sources:



About the author

Hello, I’m Cheryl.  I’m a Yoga Teacher and Nutritional Therapist. I provide information to help people who suffer from digestive, hormonal, thyroid and joint-related conditions. And I write on this blog to provide information about nutrition, yoga and movement.

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