The Health Benefits Of Adding Broccoli To Your Meal
Broccoli is a cabbage family vegetable grown for its nutritious flower heads. Its green or purple florets are known for unique phyto-nutrients that prevent diseases. It is a cool-season crop and demands fertile rich and well-drained soil to flourish. Technically, it is categorised into two main types according to their appearance — heading and sprouting.
Broccoli is one of the very low calorie vegetables, as it provides just 34 calories per 100g. Nevertheless, it is rich in dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants that have proven health benefits. Total antioxidant strength measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of broccoli is 1632 µmol TE/100 g.
Fresh Broccoli is a storehouse of many phyto-nutrients such as, thiocyanates, indoles, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates and flavonoids like beta-carotene cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zea-xanthin.
Studies have shown that these compounds by modifying positive signaling at molecular receptor levels help protect against prostate, colon, urinary bladder, pancreatic, and breast cancers.
The fresh vegetable is exceptionally rich source of vitamin-C; providing 89.2 mg or about 150 per cent of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and immune modulator, helps fight against flu causing viruses.
Further, it contains very good amounts of another anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-A. 100 g fresh head provides 623 IU or 21 per cent of recommended daily levels. Together with other pro-vitamins like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and zea-xanthin, vitamin A helps in maintaining the integrity of skin and mucusa. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyesight and helps prevent from macular degeneration of the retina in the elderly population.
Broccoli leaves (green tops) are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamin A; (16000 IU of vitamin A per 100 g) carrying these compounds several times greater than that in their flower heads.
Fresh heads are an excellent source of folates; contain about 63-µg/100 g (Provides 16 per cent of RDA). Studies have shown that consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits rich in folates during pre-conception, and pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects in the offspring.
This flower vegetable is a rich source of vitamin-K and B-complex group of vitamins like niacin (vit B-3), pantothenic acid (vit.B-5), pyridoxine (vit.B-6), and riboflavin. Further, its florets also hold some amount of omega-3 fatty acids. It is also a good source of minerals such as, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc and phosphorus.