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The Nutrition of Broccoli

Fitday Editor
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Broccoli may not be appreciated by everyone. However, many do love broccoli, it is one of the best selling vegetables in the United States. Perhaps, that is because broccoli is so versatile. It can be enjoyed raw or cooked and lends itself to many recipes. Or maybe, this vegetable is being chosen for its nutritional value. Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables around. It's loaded with important vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Nutritional Value

One cup of steamed broccoli contains:

  • 205 percent of the RDA of vitamin C
  • 190 percent of the RDA of vitamin K
  • 46 percent of the RDA of vitamin A
  • 24 percent of the RDA of folate
  • 19 percent of the RDA of dietary fiber
  • 17 percent of the RDA of manganese
  • 15 percent of the RDA of calcium

Broccoli also contains significant amounts of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iron and zinc.

Health Benefits

Broccoli is part of a family of veggies known as cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables contain phytonutrients, which have anticancer properties. Human population and animal studies show that diets high in cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, are associated with a lower risk of breast, ovarian, lung, colon and bladder cancer.

One study found that people whose diets were highest in cruciferous vegetables had a 29 percent lower risk of bladder cancer compared to those whose diets were lacking in these vegetables.

Another study discovered that men who eat broccoli more than once per week are 45 percent less likely to develop advanced stage prostate cancer. This cancer protective effect is even greater when broccoli is paired with tomatoes.

Broccoli may help those suffering from ulcers. Early research indicates that a phytonutrient found in broccoli called sulphoraphane can fight H. pylori bacteria, the primary cause of ulcers.

The same pytonutrient that makes broccoli effective against ulcers, sulphoraphane, can also protect the skin from sun damage. Broccoli extract, applied to test animals, proved to be effective in counteracting carcinogenic changes in skin cells that were exposed to UV light.

Eating broccoli may help prevent against osteoporosis. Broccoli is not only a good source of calcium, it is high in vitamin C. This powerful vitamin-mineral combination helps the body to effectively assimilate the calcium. Making broccoli a great food choice for those concerned with bone health.

Preparation

To serve raw broccoli, wash thoroughly, remove the leaves and trim off the tough stems. To get the most nutritional value from cooked broccoli, lightly steam it. This method leaves the most nutrients intact. Microwaving causes the highest loss of important nutrients so try to avoid this method of cooking.

Selection and Storage

Choose compact florets that are uniform in color without yellow areas. Avoid bunches that have wilted leaves.

Broccoli can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. For best results, place the broccoli unwashed in an open plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Broccoli may also be lightly blanched and stored in the freezer for up to a year.


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