Broccoli is a fast-growing annual plant that grows 60–90 cm (24–35 inches) tall. Upright and branching with leathery leaves, broccoli bears dense green clusters of flower buds at the ends of the central axis and the branches. If left unharvested, those buds bear yellow flowers with four petals and produce silique fruits (a dry capsule). Broccoli thrives in moderate to cool climates and is propagated by seeds, either sown directly in the field or in plant beds to produce transplants. The heads, or florets, reach harvest in 60 to 150 days, depending upon the variety and the weather.
High in dietary fibre and a number of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, and K, broccoli is a nutritious vegetable and can be eaten fresh or cooked. Fresh broccoli should be dark green in colour, with firm stalks and compact bud clusters.
Raw broccoli contains almost 90% water, 7% carbs, 3% protein, and almost no fat.Broccoli is very low in calories, providing only 31 calories per cup (91 grams).
The nutrition facts for 1 cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli are :
▪️ Calories: 31.
▪️ Water: 89%.
▪️ Protein: 2.5 grams.
▪️ Carbs: 6 grams.
▪️ Sugar: 1.5 grams.
▪️ Fiber: 2.4 grams.
▪️ Fat: 0.4 grams.
Broccoli’s carbs mainly consist of fiber and sugars.The sugars are fructose, glucose, and sucrose, with small amounts of lactose and maltose.
However, the total carb content is very low, with only 3.5 grams of digestible carbs per cup (91 grams).
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet.It can promote gut health, help prevent various diseases, and aid weight loss .
One cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli provides 2.3 grams of fiber, which is about 5–10% of the Daily Value (DV).
Proteins are the building blocks of your body, necessary for both growth and maintenance.Broccoli is relatively high in protein, which makes up 29% of its dry weight, compared to most vegetables.
However, because of its high water content, 1 cup (91 grams) of broccoli only provides 3 grams of protein.
Vitamins and minerals.
Broccoli contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including :
▪️ Vitamin C. An antioxidant, this vitamin is important 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, which is important 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 the transport of oxygen in red blood cells.
Other plant compounds.
Broccoli is rich in various antioxidants and plant compounds, which contribute to its health benefits. These include:
▪️ Sulforaphane. One of the most abundant and extensively studied plant compounds in broccoli, sulforaphane may protect against various types of cancer.
▪️Indole-3-carbinol. A unique nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, this compound may help fight cancer.
▪️Carotenoids. Broccoli contains lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene, which may all contribute to better eye health.
▪️Kaempferol. An antioxidant with many benefits for health, this compound may protect against heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and allergies.
▪️Quercetin. This antioxidant has numerous benefits, including lowering blood pressure in people with high levels.
The health benefits of broccoli.
Broccoli is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Antioxidants can help prevent the development of various conditions.
The body produces molecules called free radicals during natural processes such as metabolism, and environmental stresses add to these. Free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, are toxic in large amounts. They can cause cell damage that can lead to cancer and other conditions.
▪️ Reducing the risk of cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables contain a range of antioxidants, which may help prevent the type of cell damage that leads to cancer.
One of these is sulforaphane, which is a sulfur-containing compound that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite.
Some scientists have suggested that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli may play a role in “green chemoprevention,” in which people use either the whole plant or extracts from it to help prevent cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol. Research from 2019 suggests that this compound may have powerful antitumor properties.
Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips, cabbage, arugula, broccolini, daikon, kohlrabi, and watercress may all have similar properties.
▪️ Improving bone health.
Calcium and collagen work together to make strong bones. Over 99% of the body’s calcium is present in the bones and teeth. The body also needs vitamin C to produce collagen. Both are present in broccoli.
Vitamin K has a role in blood coagulation, but some experts have also suggested that it may help prevent or treat osteoporosis. People with low vitamin K levels may be more likely to experience problems with bone formation. Getting enough vitamin K from the diet may help keep the bones healthy.
▪️ Boosting immune health.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that provides a range of benefits.
It supports the immune system and may help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cataracts, and anemia. In supplement form, it may also help reduce the symptoms of the common cold and shorten the time a cold lasts.
▪️ Improving skin health.
Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen, which is the main support system for body cells and organs, including the skin. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can also help prevent skin damage, including wrinkling due to aging.
Studies have shown that vitamin C may play a role in preventing or treating skin conditions such as shingles and skin cancer.
▪️ Aiding digestion.
Dietary fiber can help promote regularity, prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract, and lower the risk of colon cancer.
In 2015, a screening trial found that people who consumed the highest levels of fiber were less likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who ate little fiber.A 76 g cup of broccoli provides 5.4% to 7.1% of an individual’s daily requirement for fiber.
▪️ Reducing inflammation.
When the immune system is under attack, inflammation can occur.Inflammation can be a sign of a passing infection, but it can also occur with chronic autoimmune conditions such as arthritis and type 1 diabetes. People with metabolic syndrome may also have high levels of inflammation.
Broccoli may have anti-inflammatory effects, according to a 2014 study. Scientists found that the antioxidant effect of sulforaphane in broccoli helped reduce inflammation markers in laboratory tests. They therefore concluded that the nutrients in broccoli could help fight inflammation.
▪️ Reducing the risk of diabetes.
Research from 2017 suggested that eating broccoli may help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. This is due to its sulforaphane content.
Also, one 2018 reviewTrusted Source found that people who consume a high fiber diet are less likely to have type 2 diabetes than those who eat little fiber. Fiber may also help reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
▪️ Protecting cardiovascular health.
The fiber, potassium, and antioxidants in broccoli may help prevent CVD.
A 2018 population study demonstrated that older women whose diets were rich in cruciferous vegetables had a lower risk of atherosclerosis. This is a condition affecting the arteries that can result in a heart attack or stroke. This benefit may be due to the antioxidant content of cruciferous vegetables, and particularly sulforaphane.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend increasing the intake of potassium while adding less sodium to food. This relaxes the blood vessels and lowers the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular problems.
A cup of broccoli provides almost 5% of a person’s daily need for potassium.One 2017 reviewTrusted Source found that people who eat the most fiber have a lower risk of CVD and lower levels of blood lipids (fat) than those who consume little fiber.
Megan Ware (2017-12-8), “The many health benefits of broccoli”، medicalnewstoday
Adda Bjarnadottir “Broccoli 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits”، healthline