Buyer Guides, Other News

Broccoli 101: Nutrition and Health Benefits

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a cruciferous vegetable similar to kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

They are known for their beneficial health effects. Broccoli is high in various nutrients, including fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. It also contains more protein in comparison to other vegetables. This vegetable can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. Recent research shows that gentle steaming preserves most of its health benefits.

Nutrition facts

Raw Broccoli contains approximately 90% water, 7% carbs, 3% protein, and almost no fat. Broccoli is low in calories, with only 31 calories per cup (91 grams), with:

  • Calories: 31
  • Water: 89%
  • Protein: 2.5 grams
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Sugar: 1.5 grams
  • Fibre: 2.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.4 grams

Vitamins and minerals

Broccoli contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin C. An antioxidant, this vitamin is essential for immune function and skin health. A 1/2-cup (45-gram) serving of raw Broccoli provides almost 70% of the DV.
  • Vitamin K1. Broccoli contains high amounts of vitamin K1, vital for blood clotting and may promote bone health.
  • Folate (vitamin B9). Particularly important for pregnant women, folate is needed for normal tissue growth and cell function.
  • Potassium. An essential mineral, potassium is beneficial for blood pressure control and heart disease prevention.
  • Manganese. This trace element is found in high amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Iron. An essential mineral, iron, has many important functions in your body, such as oxygen transport in red blood cells.

Broccoli also contains numerous other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. 

Health benefits of Broccoli

Cancer prevention

Broccoli is filled with compounds that are believed to protect against cancer. Studies show that the consumption of cruciferous vegetables, including Broccoli, is linked to a reduced risk of many cancers, including prostate, lung, colorectal, breast, pancreatic, and gastric cancers.

A unique family of plant compounds called isothiocyanates sets cruciferous vegetables apart from other veggies. Studies suggest that Isothiocyanates influence liver enzymes, reduce oxidative stress, decrease inflammation, stimulate your immune system, and combat the development and growth of cancer. Young Broccoli contains 20 – 100 times higher amounts of Sulforaphane than in full-grown heads of this vegetable.

Lower cholesterol levels

Cholesterol has many important functions in your body. For instance, it is a key factor in forming bile acids, which helps digest fat. Bile acids are formed in your liver, stored in your gallbladder, and released into your digestive system whenever you eat fat. Afterwards, the bile acids are reabsorbed into your bloodstream and used again.

Substances in broccoli bind with bile acids in your gut, increasing their excretion and preventing them from being reused. This results in the synthesis of new bile acids from cholesterol, reducing total levels of this marker in your body. This effect has been said to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. According to one study, steamed Broccoli is beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels.

Eye health

Two of the main carotenoids in Broccoli, lutein and zeaxanthin, are linked with a decreased risk of age-related eye disorders.

Vitamin A deficiency may induce night blindness, which can be prevented with improved vitamin A status. Broccoli contains beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. 

The above is an excerpt from the article Broccoli 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits published in Healthline. 

Leave a Reply