About Broccoli – Welcome to Nutrient Heaven! Ever wondered why your parents refused to let you leave the dinner table till the broccoli had been wiped clean off your plate? Well, it seems like they were onto something.
This member of the cabbage family is crammed with a powerhouse of nutrients that can keep your body fit and healthy. Crisp and crunchy when raw, this vegetable takes on a soft and buttery texture when boiled or steamed.
Broccoli may be famous as the green vegetable that children detest, but it is not only limited to the green variety. Broccoli is also available in a deep sage and greenish purple color.
Whether you like this humble, green vegetable or not, Broccoli’s impressive list of benefits will win you over, regardless.
Broccoli- Nutritional Facts
This vegetable has quite a treasure trove of nutrients! The long list of disease resisting and health promoting vitamins and minerals will have you wishing you knew the importance of broccoli as a child.
Let’s start with the Vitamins: One cup of raw broccoli (about 90 grams) contains a magnificent 135.2% of the daily value of Vitamin C, 115.5% of Vitamin K, 14.3% of folate, 11.3% of Vitamin A, a generous dose of the all-important B vitamins and 3.5% of vitamin E. You will find out how all these vitamins keep your body healthy, in just a short while.
This vegetable also makes sure that your body gets all the minerals it needs to function optimally! One cup of raw broccoli contains 9.5% of manganese, 8.2% of potassium, 6% of phosphorus, 4.2% of the bone building calcium and 3.6% of Iron.
All of these benefits for just 30 calories per 90 grams of raw broccoli? It’s almost too good to be true!
If what you’ve read so far has you convinced that broccoli should be on your lunch menu, this next helping of broccoli benefits will make you a fan for life.
1. For Excellent Cardiovascular Health!
Broccoli is a rich source of Vitamin C, beta carotein, lutein, B Vitamins and numerous anti-inflammatory substances. These key anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents play an important role in preventing a number of ailments including atherosclerosis, stroke, blood pressure fluctuations and cholesterol problems.
2. Excellent for Stronger Bones!
Broccoli contains sizeable amounts of calcium. For those who are unable to, or do not like to, consume regular dairy products, broccoli is a brilliant substitute to get that daily fill of calcium.
Calcium’s contribution to building a strong set of bones is promoted enough, but here’s something that has not been so heavily publicized: your body needs manganese to efficiently absorb and utilize calcium for bone fortification! Fortunately, broccoli contains healthy amounts of both calcium and manganese to complete this process.
3. For Excellent Digestive Health!
Our body needs two kinds of dietary fiber: insoluble and soluble, both of which are sufficiently present in this vegetable. Fiber helps to maintain smooth bowel movements and prevents and cures chronic cases of constipation and diarrhea.
4. An Excellent Anti-Cancer Agent!
Broccoli belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables have a host of protective substances that guard the body from contracting diseases. And why have health organizations categorically stated that cruciferous vegetables must be consumed several times a week?
Research has shown that they are associated with lower rates of cancer. They naturally contain two important phytochemicals: indoles and isothiocyanates. When broccoli, or any other cruciferous vegetable, is ingested these phytochemicals stimulate a set of enzymes in our body which eliminate cancer causing elements.
5. Broccoli for Weight Loss!
Broccoli is an excellent addition to any weight conscious individual’s diet. One cup of broccoli contains only 30 calories, but has enough nutrients to keep your body healthy, and contains as much protein as a cup of rice!
Possible Ways to Enjoy Broccoli
Pick out bright, freshly colored and firm broccoli flower heads. Rinse the vegetable in salt water and then dip it in cold water. If you wish to refrigerate broccoli, put it in a zip lock bag to preserve its crisp, crunchy texture.
Treat yourself to a creamy broccoli quiche, or put together a bowl of fresh broccoli salad and add your favorite vegetables to this crunchy dish.
Have some hot broccoli soup for lunch, or just add some steamed broccoli as a side dish to your roast chicken and mashed potato meal! Broccoli can be boiled, cooked, steamed, baked and roasted. Experiment with this versatile vegetable and you’ll find yourself falling in love in no time.
Possible Health Concerns
Though vegetables are an important source of natural nutrients and minerals, some types of vegetables may result in bodily discomfort for some people.
Broccoli (along with other fruits and vegetables such as apples, plums, asparagus, brussels sprouts and cabbage) contains certain sugars that the bacteria in the colon feed on, producing gases in the process. Consumption of a large quantity of gas producing fruits and vegetables may lead to an uncomfortable case of intestinal gas.