• An excellent
source of vitamin C
• A good
source of beta carotene and folate
Significant amounts of protein, calcium, iron, potassium, and other minerals
Rich in glucosinolates, effective natural cancer fighters
Low in calories and high in fiber
releases unpleasant-smelling sulfur compounds and may cause gas.
One of our most nutritious and studied vegetables, broccoli's powerful
disease-fighting properties give it the ability to protect against many
common cancers. Over the last 20 years, numerous studies have found that
people who eat an abundance of broccoli have a significantly reduced
incidence of cancers of the colon, breast, cervix, lungs, prostate,
esophagus, larynx, and bladder.
While other cruciferous vegetables (members of the cabbage family, whose
flowers resemble crosses) are protective, broccoli seems to have more
cancer-fighting compounds, Some of these block the action of hormones that
stimulate tumors; others work by inhibiting tumor growth or by boosting the
action of protective enzymes. Broccoli contains glucosinolates, which, once
ingested, break down into healthful compounds, including indoles,
sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates, all of which may be cancer fighters. The
most interesting compound is sulforaphane, which shows decided anticancer
activity in both cultured rat and human cells. Broccoli sprouts are roughly
fifty times richer in sulforaphane than mature broccoli. Broccoli is also
high in bioflavonoids, including quercetin and other phytochemicals that
protect cells against mutation and damage from unstable molecules.
Broccoli has an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals A 1-cup serving
of cooked broccoli contains only 44 calories, yet it provides more than 100
percent of the recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin C, 20 percent
of the RDA for folate, and a healthy amount of beta carotene. A cup of
broccoli also provides 75 mg of calcium, 1.2 mg of iron, and 5 g of protein.
Because 1 cup of cooked broccoli has 3.5 g of fiber and contains natural
laxatives, it is often suggested to prevent constipation.
Fresh broccoli is available year-round; frozen broccoli is just as
nutritious. Florets turning yellow are past their prime and less nutritious.
Broccoli can be eaten raw, but most people prefer it looked. Steaming or
stir-frying it until crispy tender retains the most nutrients; boiling it in
a large amount of water destroys many of the cancer-fighting compounds,
vitamin C, and other nutrients.