When it comes to high levels of nutrition and taste, broccoli is an all-star food with numerous health benefits. Low in calories, broccoli is packed with essential minerals, vitamins and fiber. Broccoli comes from a family of vegetables known as cruciferous vegetables and its close relatives include cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
Broccoli consists of sulforophane, a compound present, especially in cruciferous vegetables that contain sulfur. Researchers are in the process of studying the anti-cancer qualities of sulforophane and have concluded many interesting results. However, more research is needed to draw any certain conclusions.
- 1 Calories
- 2 Nutritional Facts (100 Grams)
- 3 Health Benefits
- 4 Why Steamed Broccoli Is Better?
- 5 A Word of Caution
100 grams of broccoli contains only 34 calories! This vegetable is low in cholesterol, and low in saturated fat. Besides, it is a great source of Thiamin, Protein, calcium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and iron, and a rich source of vitamins A, C, E and K, dietary fibers, vitamin B6, manganese, folate, riboflavin and potassium.
A cup (91 grams) of steamed broccoli contains 31 calories. Each cup of chopped broccoli contains 6 grams of carbohydrates, which in turn provides 24 to 31 calories. All three types of carbohydrates, sugar, fiber and starch are present in a broccoli. Because it is so low in calories, it makes sense why broccoli along with other cruciferous vegetables would help with weight loss. After all, if you snack on a bowl of low-calorie broccoli, you will have less room for a high-calorie bowl of mashed potatoes with sour cream and butter.
Nutritional Facts (100 Grams)
- 4 grams of total fat
- 33 mg of sodium
- 316 mg of potassium
- 7 g carbohydrates
- 6 g of dietary fiber
- 7 g of sugar
- 8 g of protein
- 12% vitamin A
- 4% calcium
- 148% vitamin C
- 3% iron
- 10% vitamin B6
- 5% Magnesium
Broccoli, both cooked and raw, is low in fat, cholesterol and saturated fat. Half a cup of steamed broccoli has 31 calories, 3 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates and zero fat. In addition, there are 2.5 grams of fiber per half a cup of steamed broccoli. Due to the low amount of fat, calories and carbohydrates, broccoli is usually considered a free food, which means you can binge on it.
Broccoli is a great source of vitamin C, containing 130% or 60 grams of the recommended daily value. A cup of broccoli serving equals 46% or 1207 IU of the daily recommended value of vitamin A. the vegetable is also packed with fat-soluble vitamins K and E. It provides 24% or 84 mcg of the daily-recommended value of folate, as well as niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. A cup of steamed broccoli provides approximately 3 grams of fiber, which is equivalent to 20% of your daily needs.
Broccoli is not as rich in minerals as it is with vitamins. However, it still contributes to your daily intake of minerals. Half a cup of steamed vegetable has 229 mg of potassium, which translates to 8% of the daily-recommended intake, and 52 mg or 5% of the recommended value of phosphorus. In addition, half a cup serving provides 31 mg of calcium, 16 mg magnesium, 32 mg sodium, and small amounts of zinc, iron, manganese, selenium and copper. The vegetable is also loaded with essential acids, containing around 27 mg of omega6 fatty acids and 92 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
Sulforaphane, the sulfur-containing compound in broccoli, is known for its anti-microbial, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties, and is one of the strongest anti carcinogens available. It increases the number of liver enzymes that are responsible for combating cancer-causing chemicals that are ingested from different foods or inhaled through the environment.
As per the studies by Fit Day, people who eat broccoli often experience a significant decline in the risk of lung, ovarian, breast, prostate, bladder and colon cancer. The presence of phytonutrients in broccoli also assists in fighting H. pylori bacteria, which in turn aids ulcer pain. The combination of nutrients found in broccoli also helps in promoting bone strength, preventing sun damage and improving overall health.
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in a unique chemical, known as indole-3 carbinol, which researchers believe is associated with weight loss. A study conducted in Taiwan concluded that mice that were genetically bred to be obese experienced a drop in their body weight, insulin and sugar levels when fed a diet rich in indole-3 carbinol. Furthermore, it also reduced inflammation. But, why is that important? As per research, inflammation is a key cause of obesity, and obese people are known to produce high levels of inflammatory markers.
These inflammatory markers not only increase the amount of fat in tummies but also the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Therefore, it is clear how indole-3 carbinol could help promote weight loss by reducing inflammation. Furthermore, you can also reduce the risk of developing health issues associated with inflammation, like heartburn, by consuming broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables.
Broccoli is most likely a great natural medicine for more than types of cancer, including uterus cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and other various types. With that said, this vegetable is especially beneficial for uterine and breast cancer as it eliminates estrogen from the body. It does this with the help of powerful anti-carcinogenic elements, like diindolylmethane, glucoraphanin, selenium, beta-carotene and other nutrients, such as potassium, zinc, vitamins A, C, E, and certain amino acids that also act as great anti-cancer compounds.
The secret to keeping your skin young and glowing lies in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, along with other helping agents like vitamin E, vitamin B complex, vitamin, K and A, amino acids, folate and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are present in broccoli is varying quantities. All these vitamins and minerals help take good care of your skin while keeping it radiant, glowing and healthy.
Moreover, one of the phytonutrients, glucoraphanin, is found in generous amounts in broccoli, and has been associated with reversing sun damage, so you can enjoy a healthy and younger-looking skin for years to come.
The presence of sulfur, vitamin C and amino acids make broccoli an effective detoxifier. The vegetable helps remove toxins and free radicals, such as uric acid from the body, thus cleansing the blood and keeping problems related to toxins, like itches, boils, gout, rashes, rheumatism, arthritis, renal calculi, hardening of skin and eczema, at bay.
Broccoli has high fiber content, the main dietary ingredient that can treat almost all stomach issues, such as constipation. The fiber adds to the weight of the food, preserves water and promotes healthy bowel movements. The vitamins and magnesium present in the vegetable cures acidity, allows proper absorption and digestion of minerals from food and relaxes the stomach by fighting inflammatory markers.
Cataracts and Eye Care
Vitamin A, beta-carotene, phosphorus, zeaxanthin, and other vitamins, like C, E and B complex, present in broccoli are excellent for your eye health. These substances shield your eyes against cataracts and macular degeneration, and at the same time repairs damage caused by radiation.
Since this vegetable is quite rich in calcium (47 mg per every 100 grams) and other various nutrients, like zinc, phosphorous and magnesium, eating it can prove beneficial, especially for old people, children, lactating mothers or pregnant women. This is because these people are more prone to weakening of teeth and bones or osteoporosis, and calcium deficiency.
High Blood Pressure
Chromium, an essential mineral found plentifully in broccoli, assists in the proper functioning of insulin and controls blood sugar level, hence regulating blood pressure too. Vitamins are also found in generous quantities in broccoli, and help manage blood pressure.
Anemia is related to deficiency of iron and certain proteins. Luckily, broccoli is rich in both and thus makes for a great remedy for this health condition. Copper, another important mineral in the generation of red blood cells, is found in this vegetable. Together with iron, copper makes up for the deficiencies.
Why Steamed Broccoli Is Better?
Increasing your vegetable intake is important, but it is also a smart idea to maximize the dietary value of those vegetables. Applying excess heat and water to these vegetables can result in them losing their phytonutrients, mineral and vitamin content. The solution is to cook vegetable in a small quantity of water, which make steaming the best method.
A Word of Caution
Even though broccoli is full of numerous health benefits, it is a good idea to be cautious. For some people, the vegetable can mean a severe allergic rash, as some of the strong compounds present can be irritating to the skin. Additionally, remember to consume the vegetable in moderation to enjoy its benefits without compromising your health.
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