Health Benefits of Broccoli

fresh broccoliWhen it comes to great-tasting nutrition, broccoli is an all-star food with many health benefits. While low in calories, broccoli is rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber.

Broccoli belongs to a family of vegetables called cruciferous vegetables and its close relatives include brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. Broccoli is high in sulforophane, a sulfur-containing compound present in cruciferous vegetables. Sulforophane has anti-cancer properties and may promote the elimination of potential carcinogens from the body. Studies suggest that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables may reduce the risk of some cancers, especially stomach and lung cancers.

As if that's not enough, a cup of cooked broccoli offers as much vitamin C as an orange, and is very rich in beta-carotene. Broccoli contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc too. It is also high in fiber and low in calories.

Broccoli Nutrients

Broccoli nutrients provide many health benefits. It is a great source of vitamins K, A, and C, in addition to fiber, potassium, folate, and lutein.

Vitamin K – essential for the functioning of many proteins involved in blood clotting

Vitamin A – helps vision and is required for the immune system and production of red blood cells.

Vitamin C – builds collagen, which forms body tissue and bone, and helps cuts and wounds heal. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals.

Fiber – diets high in fiber promote digestive health. A high fiber intake can also help lower cholesterol.

Potassium – a mineral and electrolyte that is essential for the function of nerves and heart contraction.

Folate – is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells in the body.

Lutein - may slow progression of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

By including broccoli in your diet regularly you may reduce and prevent ailments like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and it may help lower blood cholesterol.

broccoli casseroleCooking with Broccoli

Cooking methods can impact the nutrient content and health benefits of broccoli. Boiling can leach up to 90% of the valuable nutrients from broccoli, while steaming, roasting, stir-frying, and microwaving tends to preserve the nutrients.

History of Broccoli

Broccoli was developed from wild cabbage during Roman times, and was enjoyed immensely by the Romans. Broccoli was introduced to the United States during colonial times, but did not gain popularity until the 1920’s.

Did you know?

Broccoli gets its name from the Italian word “broccolo”, which means “cabbage sprout”.

Try this!

Looking for a new way to enjoy broccoli? Try roasting it! Place fresh broccoli on a metal sheet lined with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and some Parmesan cheese. Roast the broccoli at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. The broccoli will have a deliciously nutty taste that will have you craving more!

Tip

To keep your broccoli fresh and crisp, store it in your vegetable crisper, unwashed in a perforated bag, and try to use within a few days.

Enjoy the health benefits of broccoli by preparing and eating broccoli recipes.