Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family. It closely resembles the cauliflower due to its structure and looks. Similar to cauliflowers, broccoli’s large flowering head is used as a vegetable.
The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means “the flowering crest of a cabbage”.
There are 3 different types of broccoli. The most common is Calabrese broccoli, or simply “broccoli”. It has large (10 to 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks. This variety is a winter and spring season annual crop. The second type of broccoli is, Sprouting broccoli. The sprouting broccili has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks. Another variety of broccoli is the purple cauliflower. It has a head shaped like cauliflower, but consisting of tiny flower buds. It sometimes, but not always, has a purple cast to the tips of the flower buds.
Both cooked and raw broccoli can make excellent additions to your meal plan. If you enjoy raw broccoli, by all means include it in your diet! Broccoli benefits are numerous in nature no matter what is the variety of broccoli that you are eating. One of the healthiest forms of consuming broccoli which will give you all the broccoli benefits is eating it raw.
Raw broccoli has some special benefits for your digestive tract. Another form of broccoli you may also want to try in you enjoy raw broccoli is broccoli sprouts.
A lot of stomach problems are caused due to overgrowth of a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, and its excessive attachment to the inner stomach lining. Raw broccoli and broccoli sprouts appear to provide special stomach support to curb this unwanted overgrowth and over-attachment.
One of the major nutrients found in broccoli is vitamin C. This is specially found in high concentration of broccoli sprouts.
To know more about broccoli benefits, you can read more in our tabs on ‘Health Benefits’ and ‘Nutrients’.
There are many more sources that you can use to learn more about broccoli and broccoli benefits
Broccoli is not only high in vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber, but it’s also easy to cook and a nutritious addition to any meal. Whether you’re steaming, sauteing, roasting, or blanching the broccoli, it’s a tasty veggie that tastes great on its own or with a variety of other meats or vegetables.
Storage: Consume fresh broccoli as soon as you can as it will not keep long. To store, mist the unwashed heads, wrap loosely in damp paper towels, and refrigerate. Use within 2 to 3 days. Do not store broccoli in a sealed container or plastic bag.
Cleaning & Cutting: If you bought your broccoli at a commercial grocery store, a thorough rinse is fine. If you grew your own broccoli or bought it at a farm stand, soak the broccoli in salted water for 10 minutes, then rinse it thoroughly. Any worms that broccoli may have die in the salt water.
Trim away the trunk of the main stem. This is the thickest part of the broccoli. The stem of the broccoli is completely edible, but the last inch or so will be a bit tougher and not as tasty. You can eat the stem, or discard part of it.
How to Buy: Look for firm, compact clusters of small flower buds (flowerets). Flowerets should be dark green and may have a purplish cast.
Avoid thick, tough stems. If the flowerets are enlarged, opened, yellowish-green or wilted, then the broccoli is not fresh. Never buy broccoli that is soft or slippery. This is a sign of spoiling.
Special Steps: Wash fresh broccoli with a solution of one part white vinegar and three parts water. The acetic acid in the vinegar helps to remove any dirt, impurities and pests in the broccoli. Place the washed broccoli in a strainer and rinse it with water to remove any traces of vinegar.
Lay the broccoli on a kitchen towel to allow it to dry thoroughly. Remove any leaves and trim the ends of the stalks. Separate larger bunches of broccoli into smaller pieces for cooking or eating raw.
TIP: To remove the smell of broccoli cooking, throw a couple of thick chunks of bread into the cooking water.
Mineral Content: It is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in plant protein and dietary fiber. Broccoli is rich in potassium and has a good amount of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium, as well as small amounts of iron, zinc, manganese, and selenium.
Vitamin & Compounds: Broccoli is high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. It is also a source of vitamins E, C, K and B-vitamins. A single serving provides more than 30 mg of vitamin C and a half-cup provides 52 mg of vitamin C.
Water Content: Broccoli is 91 percent water by weight.
Carbohydrate Content: 100 grams of broccoli have 34 calories, but the calories from fat are only 3.
Broccoli may prove to be a wonder drug for curing many types of cancer. It helps in detoxification, curing constipation, proper heart functioning, protecting the eyes against Macular degeneration, and reducing cataracts. It is very good for skin and eye care, healthy bones, and also helps prevent anemia.
Bone health: Every serving of broccoli serves your bones well. This cruciferous vegetable is a good source of calcium, and it’s also packed with vitamin K, a nutrient that is essential for the formation of osteocalcin (a type of protein found only in bone). A diet rich in vitamin K has been linked to a lower risk of fractures in some populations, so load up on this vegetable to help slow bone loss and reduce your risk of breaking a bone later in life.
Blood pressure: Broccoli is a potent package of fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C, all nutrients that may help lower blood pressure. One cup of steamed broccoli provides nearly 200 percent of the vitamin C you need each day. Antioxidant vitamin C helps bring down blood pressure.
Heart health: Sulforaphane encourages production of enzymes that protect the blood vessels, and reduces the number of molecules that cause cell damage — known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) — by up to 73 percent. Supports heart health and contains lutein, which may help prevent thickening of your arteries
Inflammation: Broccoli has tons of vitamin C and plenty of calcium. It also fights eye inflammation. Lab studies have found that sulforaphane, a compound in broccoli may block enzymes linked to joint destruction and inhibit inflammation. Broccoli is abundant in vitamin K, which in high amounts may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
Cancer: Sulforaphane in broccoli has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby striking to the root of tumor growth, and the broccoli compound glucoraphanin boosts cell enzymes that protect against molecular damage from cancer-causing chemicals.
It also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small amounts of selenium.
Digestion and regularity: Contains significant amounts of fiber to facilitate better digestion. Make sure you lightly steam your broccoli to digest it well.
Weight management: Broccoli is high in fiber and low in calories, it can also help you manage your weight.
Metabolism: Broccoli is high in the vitamin C our bodies need to effectively absorb the calcium we eat and calcium aids in weight loss. Broccoli also has phytochemicals that boost immunity and protect against disease–all while being very low in calories!
Skin: Benefits your skin, as sulforaphane helps repair skin damage.
In general, broccoli is safe to eat, and there are no known serious side effects. The most common side effect is gas or bowel irritation, caused by broccoli’s high amounts of fiber.
Here are some delicious recipes of Broccoli that you can try at home.
1) Chilly Garlic Roasted Broccoli
2) Broccoli Salad
3) Microwave Lemon Garlic Broccoli: A healthy way to eat broccoli
4) Broccoli and Pepper Stir Fry: A fast way to make something healthy and delicious