Broccoli is one of the Superfoods and has the botanical name of Brassica oleracea. It relates closely to kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. This is a cruciferous vegetable.
You can eat broccoli raw or cooked but gentle steaming will bring out the full nutrition. It has a variety of health benefits that make it much sought after in the world of food and nutrition.
Broccoli Nutritional Content
Almost 90% of broccoli is water. Carbohydrates make up 7% and proteins 3%. It has no fat. Calorific content of broccoli is low at 31 calories per cup.
- Vitamin K: 243% (of daily need)
- Vitamin C: 133%
- Chromium: 53%
- Folate: 42%
- Fibre: 21%
- Pantothenic acid: 19%
- Vitamin B6: 18%
- Vitamin E: 15%
- Phosphorus: 15%
- Manganese: 15%
- Choline: 15%
- Vitamin B2: 15%
- Vitamin A: 13%
- Potassium: 12%
- Copper: 11%
- Vitamin B1: 8%
- Omega-3 fats: 8%
- Magnesium: 8%
- Protein: 7%
- Zinc: 6%
- Iron: 6%
- Calcium: 6%
- Selenium: 5%
- Vitamin B3: 5%
Other ingredients that could have a positive health effect are sulforaphane (acts on several types of cancers), carotenoids (promotes better eye health due to the presence of beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein), Quercetin (antioxidant that helps lower the blood pressure) Indole-3-cxarbinol (a nutrient that might help fight cancer), and kaempferol (an antioxidant that helps against allergy, inflammation, cancer, and heart disease).
Broccoli Health Benefits
Make Bones Strong
The Vitamin K in broccoli helps make the bones strong. Vitamin K is needed in adequate amounts, and when this becomes low, there is a risk of bone fracture. If one has a cup of broccoli a day, they get their daily dose of Vitamin K. The action of Vitamin K is in reducing the calcium excretion in the urine and increasing the absorption of calcium. Research is on to find whether this vegetable can affect the severity of osteoporosis and arthritis of joint cartilage. They are looking at sulforaphane and checking its action.
Broccoli fights cancer
Eating more broccoli helps prevent the oestrogen from stimulating the growth of breast cancer cells. It assists the prevention of cancers of the colon and lung due to the presence of sulforaphane. This naturally occurring compound has plenty of other health-giving properties including the prevention of growth of polyps in animals. The polyps are the starting point for the colon cancers.
The method of fighting the cancer is varied and subject to debate. The health-giving ingredients in this vegetable might form the reason for the reduction of DNA mutation. The elimination of the carcinogenic toxins is due to the integral structure of the cells of the broccoli. The way broccoli induces the apoptosis is due to the presence of sulforaphane. It further helps prevent benign tumours from becoming malignant. This way they prevent the spread of cancer within the body.
Helps to Keep Younger skin
It supplies the skin with its healthy dose. The high Vitamin C content helps the production of collagen that is so vital for the skin. When the collagen production is low, the wrinkles are more pronounced. The high antioxidant property helps maintain the suppleness of the skin. The alpha lipoic acid prevents the collagen from hardening. The other antioxidants in broccoli are coenzyme Q10 and carotene.
Protection from bruising
Since it has both Vitamin C and Vitamin K, most of the anti-bruising diets include broccoli. Vitamin K is needed for normal blood clotting, and when this is less, there is chances of more bruising. Vitamin C helps strengthen the small blood vessels, and this helps prevent excessive bruising.
Diseases occur due the invasion by the pathogens and free radicals. The huge level of antioxidants and phytochemicals in this vegetable helps to keep the pathogens and the free radicals in check. There is a report from a study that says the immune system benefits from the broccoli. The stronger the immune system, the easier it is to be rid of invading pathogen. Several phytochemicals help to fight the destructive forces of the radicals. This includes carotenoids such as beta-carotene and flavonoids such as kaempferol.
Aids in Weight loss
You can use this superfood to lose weight. The high fibre content in broccoli helps you feel satisfied fast even when you eat a cup of broccoli. This vegetable is low in calories and fat. This assures you that you will not put on weight. Eating broccoli enhances the fat burning in the body due to the way the metabolic is enhanced by the broccoli.
This was found in the study where the study group was a group with low amounts of Vitamin in their body. They were checked for fat burning, and the results were compared against those who had the normal amount of Vitamin. Those who had less Vitamin C burned less fat. The reason being for the body to digest the fat, it needs carnitine. This is synthesized from Vitamin C. Naturally, when this is less, the ability of the body to burn fat is lessened.
Studies showed that the human inflammatory response was triggered by the NF-KappaB signalling system. This inflammatory response could be controlled by isothiocyanates (ITC). Broccoli and most cruciferous vegetables have glucosinolates that help produce the ITC. The ITC then shut down the entire genetic machinery that helps produce NF-KappaB system. The main isothiocyanate is sulforaphane.
Improves Heart health
It helps keep the blood vessels strong. The anti-inflammatory agent sulforaphane limits the damage to the blood vessels by protecting the linings from the damage that occur due to the blood sugar problems. Potassium helps regulate the blood pressure and keep the heart strong. The B-complex vitamins in broccoli help regulate the amount of homocysteine. This amino acid builds up once you eat red meat. It is responsible for many of the indicators associated with coronary heart disease.
Overcooking broccoli makes it mushy and results in the loss of the crisp texture. Along with this, you also lose nutritive value and loss of flavour. To cook this vegetable, cut the florets into quarters and set aside for a few minutes before cooking. This enhances its benefits. For the best benefit, eat at least 1 cup of this vegetable 5 times a week. Buy young broccoli since this has higher nutritive content.