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Consuming broccoli to alleviate anxiety or other mood disorders may seem unconventional or even strange, but broccoli is replete with nutrients that are beneficial for several ailments.
Recent studies have also shown broccoli to have a positive impact on mood and even reduce anxiety.
Broccoli belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which also includes cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. It is deemed the “crown jewel of nutrition” and is a winter crop.
Vegetables of this family generally have sulfur-containing compounds, and broccoli, in particular, has been touted as a prominent anticancer food by the American Society of Cancer. (1)
How Broccoli Helps With Anxiety
According to recent clinical evidence, broccoli has been found to have these benefits for anxiety.
1. Has a bioactive compound called sulforaphane
Sulforaphane (SFN) is the main antioxidant in broccoli that plays a protective role against cancer. Newer studies have also used this antioxidant to treat mental disorders and have found promising results. (2)
2. Contains nutrients that ease anxiety
Just 100 g of broccoli contains 6% of the daily requirement of B1, 9% of B2, and 16% of folate. (6) Thus, you can include 1–2 servings of broccoli to beat anxiety.
3. Is a source of a nonessential amino acid called glutamine
Glutamine is a type of nonessential amino acid, which means it is synthesized in the body. However, a deficiency of glutamine can occur, which has been known to be a reason for the development of anxiety disorders. (7)
Supplementing with glutamine has been known to also protect the nerves from harm due to prolonged periods of stress. (8)
How to Eat Broccoli for Anxiety Control
One of the best ways you can include broccoli in your daily diet, specifically for easing anxiety, is to consume it raw in salads. This is because most of its nutrients (such as B vitamins) are heat sensitive and up to 60% of them can be lost during cooking. (9)
To make a broccoli salad:
- Chop broccoli pieces and soak in salted water for 30 minutes.
- Rinse them well and then grate or finely chop them.
- Add them to a salad with other ingredients of your choice or top them on noodles and rice dishes.
A Note on Anxiety
Anxiety and mood disorders such as depression can be a result of food deficiencies; however, it doesn’t mean that it is the only reason. In some cases, food- or diet-related changes may not help you or your loved one.
It is very important to address mood disorders or anxiety with care and get proper help, which may include therapy or medication.
Most-Asked Questions About Broccoli for Anxiety Control
How long will it take for broccoli to ease anxiety?
Foods take some time to improve health. You may need to consume broccoli daily basis for 1–3 months to experience benefits.
Who should avoid broccoli?
- Recent studies have shown broccoli to have a positive impact on mood and even reduce anxiety.
- Broccoli contains a bioactive compound called sulforaphane, which is the main antioxidant used to treat mental disorders, and promising results have been found in its use.
- Sulforaphane works by reducing the sensation of pain, which ultimately improves mood.
- Broccoli also contains nutrients that ease anxiety by increasing the production of dopamine and serotonin.
- Broccoli also contains glutamine, a nonessential amino acid that not only reduces anxiety but also protects the nerves from the harmful effects of chronic stress.