From Dr. Mercola:
Resembling tiny green trees with an equally green trunk, broccoli is one of many cruciferous (or Brassica) vegetables, so it has a number of similar-tasting cousins, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, bok choy, and of course, cauliflower.
Did You Know?
Broccoli is packed with impressive quantities of vitamin C and heart-beneficial vitamin K, fiber and protein, riboflavin, folate, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. Eating this crucifer activates free radical-zapping antioxidants, cancer- and inflammation-fighting enzymes, and other compounds, which studies show also improves symptoms of diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. Steaming broccoli to a “tender-crisp” for these scrumptious little broccoli quiches is the best way to retain the health-improving compounds.
Broccoli florets, as well as the stems, are great additions to garden salads, stir fries, slaw, quiches, casseroles, or to eat all by themselves. This veggie’s versatility makes it one of the tastiest, most popular garden vegetables, but incredibly, it also has the ability to fight cancer, discourage inflammation, strengthen your heart, and detoxify your cells – and that’s just the short list of its extraordinary assets.
Raw or Steamed, Broccoli Is Loaded with Nutrients
Raw broccoli is packed with amazing nutritive benefits. One medium-sized stalk (about 1½ cups) contains approximately 16 percent of the fiber and 9 percent of the protein needed for an entire day.
You also get a whopping 224 percent of the vitamin C you need, helping your body resist colds, flu, and other diseases. This vitamin also combats the effects of cell-damaging free radicals absorbed through the toxins we encounter, such as smog and pesticides. Relating to brain health, vitamin C is necessary for the production of serotonin, a hormone that is crucial in brain and nervous system function.
That same 1 ½-cup serving contains more than enough of the daily recommended value in vitamin K – 192 percent – which helps regulate your blood’s clotting ability, making sure it flows freely, but not too freely. No fewer than 12 proteins are needed for our blood viscosity to remain balanced, and vitamin K supplies four of them. The end result is heart protective, and may also help prevent coronary artery disease.
Other ingredients in broccoli that radically enhance its nutritional value include vitamins A, E and B6, riboflavin and folate, and the minerals potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. More broccoli advantages come in the form of thiamin, pantothenic acid, calcium and magnesium, as well as small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
That’s pretty powerful for a relatively small portion of food.
When It Comes to Good Nutrition, It’s the Little Things…
Interestingly, chopping broccoli into small bits and letting them rest for a few minutes before steaming produces an increase of the enzyme myrosinase. You can’t see them, but the process converts some of broccoli’s natural, sulfur-containing chemicals into cancer-killing, cancer-reducing and cancer-fighting compounds such as isothiocyanates and glucosinolates, one study1 reported.