Broccoli: Benefits, Types, Calories, Recipes And How To Consume It

Broccoli is a tasty cruciferous vegetable whose demand is growing.

According to the Economic Research Service for the last 30 years, the per person consumption of fresh broccoli increased from 1.4 kg in 1980 to 5.6 kg in 2010.

The increase in consumption could be due to its flexible nature, because it works well in salads, soups and more types of recipes.

On the other hand, it is sold fresh or packaged and is available throughout the year in the market. The flowers and stems are edible, while the bitter tasting leaves are discarded.

Cruciferous vegetables offer a wide range of health benefits, and broccoli is no exception.

What is broccoli?

Broccoli contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidant compounds in the carotenoid family. A serving of cooked broccoli (½ cup or 125 ml) contains more lutein and zeaxanthin than raw broccoli. In comparison, 1 cup or 250 ml of raw spinach, another vegetable rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, contains more than 3 times that of cooked broccoli.

These compounds can help prevent certain types of cancer, including breast cancer and lung cancer, in addition to participating in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

We note, however, that studies of antioxidant consumption in relation to the prevention of cardiovascular disease are still contradictory.

The antioxidant capacity of broccoli is reduced during storage (more than 50% after the maximum storage time, when the broccoli does not give it light during packaging).

Glucosinolates

Like most vegetables and cabbages, broccoli contains glucosinolates, which have the ability to turn into active molecules (sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, and 3,3′-Diindolylmethane) when food is crushed, chewed, or comes into contact with the intestinal bacterial flora.

Some of these molecules help limit the development of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer. Studies have shown that storing and cooking broccoli resulted in a loss of glucosinolates and decreased sulforaphane formation.

It would be better to consume these vegetables lightly cooked in a little water or raw, since cooking them moderately can optimize the formation of bioactive compounds. Consuming raw broccoli resulted in faster sulforaphane absorption and increased bioavailability compared to prepared broccoli.

Sulforaphane

Broccoli is one of the main sources of glucosinolates called glucorafanin. Under the action of myrosinase, glucoraphanin is converted to an active isothiocyanate called sulforaphane.

The researchers found that broccoli naturally contains a protein that interferes with the formation of this compound, but moderate cooking allows it to deactivate this protein, leaving more free rein for sulforaphane formation.

In contrast, the researchers also observed that overcooking decreased sulforaphane formation.

Indole-3-carbinol and 3,3′-Diindolylmethane

Indole-3-carbinol is another active derivative of glucosinolates. In the body, indole-3-carbinol can be converted to 3,3-diindolylmethane.

These active compounds in broccoli (sulforaphanes and indole-3-carbinol) have shown in animals a beneficial effect on the formation of tumors, limiting the growth of cancer cells and promoting their self-destruction.

Furthermore, sulforaphane was found to have the ability to reduce Helicobacter pylori colonization in both animals and humans. The Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that can infect ulcers of the stomach and cause cancer in humans.

Some results also show a beneficial effect of indole-3-carbinol against bladder or uterine cervical cancer, although more research is needed before confirming these results in people.

Other important components of broccoli

  • Indole-3-carbinol : A unique nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, which may have beneficial anti-cancer effects.
  • Carotenoids : Broccoli contains lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, which can contribute to better eye health.
  • Kaempferol : An antioxidant with many health benefits. It can protect against heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and allergy.
  • Quercetin : An antioxidant with numerous benefits.

Vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C: The cooked broccoli is a good source of vitamin C . Raw fruits and vegetables and frozen broccoli are a great source for women and a good source for men.
  • Vitamin K: Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin K .
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Cooked and frozen broccoli is a source of vitamin B2.
  • Vitamin B9 (folate): Cooked, raw, and frozen broccoli is a good source of vitamin B9.
  • Vitamin A: Broccoli cooked and frozen is a source of vitamin A .
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Broccoli is a source of vitamin B5.
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Broccoli is a source of vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin E: Broccoli cooked and frozen is a source of vitamin E .
  • Copper: Boiled broccoli is a source of copper.
  • Iron: Cooked and frozen broccoli is a source of iron only for men.
  • Magnesium: Cooked broccoli is a source of magnesium only for women.
  • Manganese: Cooked and frozen broccoli is a source of manganese , and raw is a good source only for women.
  • Phosphorus: Cooked and frozen broccoli is a source of phosphorus.
  • Potassium: Boiled broccoli is a source of potassium.

21 Health Benefits of Broccoli

1. Prevents cancer

Several studies have shown that broccoli helps prevent cancer.

According to researchers at Oregon State University, USA, the compound “sulforaphane” found in broccoli helps prevent cancer through the complex mechanism of epigenetics.

Another study shows that broccoli can prevent tumor development by 60% and help reduce tumor size by 75%.

Broccoli can particularly hinder the growth of this disease in the breast, uterus, cervical, prostate and skin.

Everyone should eat, at least once a week, half a cup of broccoli, although the ideal is two to three times a week.

Men should eat four servings per week to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, with each serving of broccoli being equal to two pieces.

2. Regulates blood pressure

Researchers have found that broccoli helps regulate blood pressure.

An organic sulfur compound in broccoli, sulforaphane, plays a key role in enhancing DNA binding substitution, which is crucial for normal cell function and proper gene expression.

In addition, the magnesium, calcium and potassium in broccoli also help regulate blood pressure.

Broccoli, along with other cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, and arugula, should be included in the diet to normalize blood pressure levels.

3. Maintains heart health

Researchers from the Imperial College London Institute showed that certain chemicals in broccoli boost a natural defense mechanism that protects arteries from the blockage that causes heart attacks.

Containing loads of potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants, broccoli improves the pumping ability of the blood in the arteries, reduces heart damage due to oxygen deprivation, and provides higher levels of heart health chemicals during oxygen deprivation.

Some evidence also shows that consuming broccoli regularly can reverse the damage caused by diabetes to the blood vessels of the heart.

Include this plant in your diet to maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease, seizures, and strokes.

4. Helps with detoxification

Broccoli also helps your body in the detoxification process due to the presence of phytonutrients such as glucorafanin, gluconasturtin, and glucobrassicin.

These phytonutrients have a strong impact on the detoxification process, including activating, neutralizing, and removing unwanted contaminants.

In addition, the isothiocyanates contained in broccoli help control the detoxification process and its genetic level.

Eliminating body toxins and waste is good for your overall health.

This will help increase your energy level, improve immunity, improve metabolism, stimulate circulation, and improve digestion.

5. Increases brain power

Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, which is known to improve cognitive function and brainpower.

It also has several B vitamins , which play a key role in improving memory and mental stamina.

Broccoli can also ease the effects of mental fatigue and depression.

The nutrient content of broccoli is important in the growth of new brain cells, as well as neural connections, which are essential for good memory and cognitive function.

Those benefits can prevent neural tube defects in newborns.

Eating a cup of broccoli three times a week can lower your chance of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in old age.

6. Weight loss

By including broccoli in your diet, you can lose weight faster.

It is a low-fat, low-calorie vegetable that helps fill you up quickly.

Its high fiber and water content add volume to your food without adding calories.

In addition, it contains protein and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and manganese, which are necessary for a healthy immune system and a healthy body.

A cup of cooked broccoli is considered a healthy snack on any weight loss diet plan.

7. Avoid premature aging

Broccoli can help maintain your youth, as it can significantly slow down the aging process.

The antioxidant vitamin C in broccoli fights free radicals and prevents premature signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and skin blemishes.

In addition, it contains beta-carotene and vitamins E and group B, which provide a natural glow and maintain youthful skin.

Additionally, broccoli acts as a natural sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

Eating fresh broccoli will leave your skin with a beautiful natural glow and delay the signs of aging .

8. Maintains the health of the eyes

The unique combination of nutrients in broccoli is extremely beneficial for the eyes.

The two carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in significant concentrations in broccoli, are important for eye health.

Additionally, broccoli is a good source of vitamin A, which plays a crucial role in the formation of the retina, the molecule that absorbs light necessary for low-light vision and color.

Eating broccoli on a regular basis will improve your vision and reduce the risk of eye problems, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

9. Promotes healthy bones

Each serving of broccoli improves the health of your bones since being rich in calcium and vitamin K, broccoli promotes bone health and helps prevent osteoporosis.

Also, a diet rich in vitamin K has been associated with a lower risk of fractures.

Broccoli, on the other hand, is high in fiber and low in calories, and it can help control your weight, which is important for bone health.

So eat broccoli regularly to avoid calcium deficiency and its effects.

10. Promotes healthy hair

If you want to have healthy and strong hair, add more broccoli to your diet as it contains vitamins such as A, B6 and C, which nourish the hair, leaving it soft and strong.

These vitamins stimulate the production of sebum, an oily substance secreted by hair follicles.

The sebum acts as a natural moisturizer, conditioning your scalp and hair, which in turn will prevent hair from drying out or frizz.

Additionally, the calcium in broccoli strengthens hair follicles and can reduce hair loss.

For good hair growth and health, eat raw broccoli three to four times a week.

11. Skin and the immune system

The broccoli is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. These compounds help in the prevention of aging, wrinkles and pigment in the skin. Antioxidants help prevent the formation of free radicals that can cause skin problems and cancer. The glucorafanin present in broccoli protects against sun damage and helps to repair the skin, in addition, together with gluconasturtin and glucobrassicin they help in the detoxification of the body and contains several antioxidants such as carotenes and trace elements that help strengthen immunity.

12. Digestion

Its high content of dietary fiber makes broccoli beneficial for digestion helping to maintain an efficient bowel movement. Isothiocyanates are phytonutrients present in broccoli , which help protect the lining of the stomach and prevent the growth of bacteria on its wall.

13. Fewer complications with diabetes

Experts from the University of Warwick, UK, show an additional benefit of sulforaphane: production of enzymes that protect vessels and molecules, capable of reducing damage to cells from excess sugar. According to the study, the compound reduces the level of molecules called reactive oxygen species by up to 73%, which are produced in excess when high levels of sugar are concentrated in the body. This discovery is especially important for patients with diabetes, who suffer damage to their blood vessels.

The authors of the study, published in the scientific journal of the American Diabetes Association , state that people with the disease have a five times greater risk of developing heart attacks and strokes, which can be caused by poor blood circulation.

14. Protected lungs

Another point of sulforaphane: it eliminates the bacteria that affect the lungs. One function of the lungs is to filter out tiny particles of dust, dirt, and foreign bacteria that enter through the air, but people who smoke or have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) cannot do this very well, as lung capacity it deteriorates.

A study published in the journal Science Translational analyzed the immune cells of more than 300 COPD patients. The researchers, from Johns Hopkins University (USA), found that broccoli is able to improve the condition of these people by helping the lungs in the elimination of harmful substances.

15. Gastritis

Broccoli is also an ally of the proper functioning of the stomach and intestine. According to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research , plant sulforaphane reduces the level of infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which infects the lining of the stomach and can cause ulcers, gastritis and even stomach cancer.

This benefit for the small intestine was detected by research from the University of Liverpool (UK). The authors suggest that the soluble fiber in broccoli can bind to the intestinal walls, helping to prevent the progression of Crohn’s disease – characterized by local inflammation that causes diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss.

16. Prevents and fights arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints, caused by the breakdown of the cartilage that protects them. Experts from the University of East Angliaum, England, encourage the consumption of broccoli to help prevent and treat this problem, as sulforaphane can reduce this destruction of cartilage. They also plan to carry out more research to confirm whether this substance can penetrate the joints and reverse the development of the disease.

Although sulforaphane is also found in other vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage, its concentration is higher in broccoli, the amount in this plant is 214 mcg / g 499 mcg / g.

Benefits of broccoli in sports

Broccoli helps in hypertrophy training in several ways, directly or indirectly:

17. Recover muscle fibers

Contains vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and helps with muscle recovery after training. Vitamin C helps worn cells to recover faster after physical exertion.

18. Allows muscle contraction

It is only possible with the presence of calcium in the cells. Broccoli, which contains this nutrient, provides the necessary amount for the muscle fibers to contract and relax, avoiding cramps.

19. Hormonal regulation

Its nutrients also help in the production and release of hormones. It reduces estradiol levels – which may be responsible for fat accumulation – and increases testosterone levels, promoting muscle growth.

20. Fix DNA

The folic acid in broccoli is essential in DNA chain repair, the genetic code of all cells.

21. Produces new blood cells

There is no muscle growth if the necessary energy does not reach the muscle, to improve the formation of new blood cells, broccoli makes the muscles always obtain the amount of oxygen and glucose they need to grow.

Tips to maximize the benefits of broccoli

  • To enjoy all the benefits of broccoli, be sure to prepare it in a way that retains the most nutritional value.
  • Avoid overcooking the broccoli because you will destroy its nutritional value.
  • Avoid using the microwave, because this cooking process can remove valuable nutrients.
  • Leave the broccoli lightly steamed for a few minutes, this is the best way to eat it.
  • You can add broccoli to soups and creams, you can also eat it raw with a mild sauce.

Possible precautions in consuming broccoli

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, are they avoided if I suffer from hypothyroidism?

There would be no need to moderate cruciferous consumption in hypothyroidism unless blood tests indicate iodine deficiency.

Explanation : Cruciferous vegetables are part of the goitrogenic food family, which have the ability to prevent the use of iodine by the thyroid gland.

However, cruciferous vegetables are also good for your health and it is not recommended to eliminate them completely from your diet, but to cook them little to reduce the activity of goitrogenic molecules.

Is there a link between crucifers and thyroid cancer?

Cruciferous vegetables naturally contain thioglycosides, substances that have a link to thyroid cancer.

Diets with large amounts of cruciferous vegetables (plants belonging to the cabbage family, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts) can prevent the body from absorbing iodine and therefore increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

Vitamin K and blood thinners

Broccoli contains a high amount of vitamin K, especially required for blood clotting. People taking blood thinners should adopt a diet that regulates vitamin K content.

Broccoli and some foods like asparagus, chard, Brussels sprouts, watercress, spinach, etc., should be eaten in moderation. It is highly recommended for people on anticoagulant treatment to consult a nutritionist or a doctor to learn about dietary sources of vitamin K, in order to ensure a daily intake as stable as possible.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Some people with irritable bowel syndrome may have varying degrees of intolerance for cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli. Limiting or avoiding fermentable foods from the cruciferous family can alleviate symptoms (abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea …) in people with this syndrome.

When symptoms are mild, or during periods called remission, it is sometimes possible to gradually reintegrate these foods, while respecting individual tolerance.

The interaction between cruciferous vegetables and certain medications

The idols naturally present in cruciferous compounds can, in particular, reduce the action of certain pain relievers, such as products containing paracetamol and other drugs that combine a mixture of active ingredients. People who eat large amounts of cruciferous vegetables should keep this in mind.

How to choose the freshest broccoli?

Choose a broccoli with firm stems and a compact head. The yellow flowers are a sign that it is no longer fresh and will definitely taste bitter.

The stems are eaten. Peel them and cut them lengthwise, so that they have the same cooking time as the heads.

Generally broccoli is overcooked, making it pasty and destroying some of its properties, so steaming it is the most recommended, as this will make it healthier and richer in nutrients.

Broccoli with red flowers loses its color when cooked, and rapini (Italian broccoli) is consumed with stems and leaves, requiring only a short cooking time.

How is broccoli preserved?

  • Fridge. Four or five days maximum.
  • Freeza. Blanch for five minutes in boiling water, cool in cold water, drain and place in freezer bags.
  • Lacto-fermentation. Like cabbage, it can be transformed into sauerkraut (from the French, sauerkraut). Use the stems on the heads and chop finely.

Broccoli Nutrition Facts

The broccoli is a rich source of vitamin C and dietary fiber, also an excellent source of beta – carotene and protein, and is rich in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. The broccoli is very low in calories, provides only 35 calories per 100 gram serving.

Recipes with broccoli

Green broccoli juice

If you don’t like the taste of broccoli or its consistency in the kitchen, make a juice. This is the best way to extract all the benefits without eating broccoli directly.

Ingredients :

  • ½ cup of water
  • 3 broccoli flowers
  • 3 cabbage leaves
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds

Preparation method:

Beat everything in a blender, strain and drink it immediately.

Simple broccoli and vegetable omelette

This recipe can be incorporated into breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch arugula, chopped
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • Seasonings such as oregano, chives, basil, parsley and rosemary to taste, as well as seasoning the mixture.
  • 1 bunch of palm hearts, chopped

preparation:

In a bowl, break the eggs and beat them well with a fork or a few rods, until foam has formed, then add the remaining ingredients and mix again. Pour into a non-stick skillet previously heated over medium heat with a little oil to grease and not stick. When ready, just serve and enjoy.

Broccoli and zucchini soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yam
  • herbs and salt

preparation:

Cook the broccoli, zucchini, and yams in a small amount of water, bringing to a boil. In a skillet, sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil. Mix everything in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and spices. Return the mixture to the pot to boil again. Rectify the flavor. You can add more garlic or onion if you prefer.

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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